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Life of Admiral 
Sir Charles Saunders 


GENERAL WOLFE (in The Makers 
of National History Series, Edited 
by the Ven. W. H. Hutton, B.D.). 
In crown 8vo, cloth gilt, with 
frontispiece and map, 260 pp., 
3s. 6d. net. 

By permission of the 

Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty 


from the painting in the Painted Hall, Greenwich, by R. Brompton 
{the bequest of Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, Bt.) 





. . 


Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., 1 Amen Corner, E.C. 

And at Bath, New York and Melbourne 



■ I 

Printed bv Sir Isaac Pitman & 
Sons, Ltd., London, Bath, New 
York and Melbourne . 1914 


TI7HEN writing the Life of General Wolfe, 
five years ago, I was much impressed 
by the fact that whilst most things affecting 
his remarkable career were known or ascer- 
tainable, little was available as to his colleague 
at Quebec. Material for a biography of Admiral 
Sir Charles Saunders was generally regarded 
as non-existent. Research provided me with 
enough to serve for an article in the Fortnightly 
Review, some passages from which are now 
reproduced. The notice attracted by that essay, 
together with the interest I felt in the man, 
induced me to continue to follow up clues. " It 
is curious/ ' said the Army and Navy Gazette in 

1909, " that no authentic biography of Sir 
Charles Saunders has ever been written." It is 
not at all curious if one bears in mind the great 
difficulty of gathering continuous data, and the 
certainty that the discharge of such a duty 
could never bring material reward commensurate 
with the labour involved. 

My determination if possible to write the 
life-story of Saunders was fixed when in March, 

1910, my friend Mr. Beckles Willson published 
" Wolfe's Missing Journal " in the Nineteenth 


Century, and reflected somewhat severely on 
the part Saunders did, or did not, play in the 
eleven weeks' campaign. That article seemed 
like a challenge. When in 1912 I had the good 
fortune to find myself on the heights of Quebec, 
taking a bird's-eye view of the Lower Town, 
the Basin, the end of the Isle of Orleans, and the 
cliffs towards Point Levi, I felt more strongly 
than ever that much had been said regarding 
Saunders, which all the love in the world for 
Wolfe did not justify. What Mr. Julian Corbett 
and Major Wood had written of his great but 
barely recognised work was expert guarantee 
that I should be pursuing no mean record. 
Matter accumulated slowly. Friends connected 
with the Admiralty and with the Canadian 
Government, friends especially interested in the 
eighteenth century, and others, endeavoured 
in the kindest way to help me forward. Their 
efforts were not encouraging because they 
seemed only to provide proof that I knew already 
whatever was to be found. Hence it was with 
something like a thrill that I occasionally came 
upon a treasure such as the captain's log of the 
TryaVs Prize, which has been preserved, while 
that of the Centurion during Anson's voyage 
is wanting. To handle the log of the TryaVs 
Prize was to put one's self into direct touch 
with Saunders and the great expedition of 




which we have all read time and again as one 
of the real romances of the sea. Again, I 
confess that there seems to me more than a 
gleam of light on the Seven Years' War in 
Anson's Secret Despatch sent out by a fast 
frigate to Saunders at Gibraltar — " bearer to 
await reply " — inquiring as to the chances of 
taking Marseilles and Cadiz. The despatch 
and the reply, so far as I am aware, are now 
printed for the first time. 

A happy accident reminded me that Viscount 
Melville's first two names are Charles Saunders, 
and that he is a direct descendant of Saunders' 
niece. A letter to his lordship brought a 
prompt and courteous response, which enabled 
me to get into correspondence with Miss Lucy 
Saunders, who is a many times great-grandchild 
of Saunders' uncle George. Miss Saunders, at 
much trouble to herself, put me in possession of 
certain facts without which even the slender 
threads as to Charles Saunders' early days 
which I am able to give would be lacking. 
They dispose of some deductions and suggestions 
as to Saunders' birth and relationships. 

To Viscount Melville, to Miss Lucy Saunders, 
to Mr. A. M. Broadley (an eighteenth-century 
enthusiast if ever there was one) who kindly 
gave me a photograph of McArdell's en- 
graving of Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait, 


to my friend Captain Victor J ones who has helped 
me to steer clear of troubles in various seas, and 
to other friends and obliging officials who 
have done what they could to further my views, 
I make grateful acknowledgments. There are 
doubtless other directions to which I might 
turn with some prospect of further success. 
To have got together so much suggests that more 
remains. For the deficiencies which the book 
will be found to contain I crave the indulgence 
due, I think, to one engaged in something like 
a literary and historical obstacle race. The 
book will at least, I hope, enable those who 
look upon Brompton's portrait of Sir Charles 
Saunders in the Painted Hall at Greenwich to 
see more in it perhaps than hitherto. 

E. S. 

Buckhurst Hill, 
January, 1914. 




Preface v 

Introduction 1 



Early Days — Lieutenant of the Centurion — Beginning 
of Anson's Voyage — Captain of the Tryal — Round 
the Horn — Juan Fernandez . . . 13 



Saunders' First Prize — Harrying the Spaniard — Disasters 
and Adventures — Scuttlings and Big Captures . . 33 



WithNorris and Hawke — The Truth about the Yarmouth 
— Sailors and the Marriage Act — A Cargo of Courage — 
Saunders in the Mediterranean — Barbary Pirates — 
The Seven Years' War 51 



Osborne takes Command — Holding the Straits — The 
Story of the Foudroyant — Osborne's Tribute to 
Saunders — Anson wants Saunders in England . . 79 



Saunders to Command the Fleet in the St. Lawrence — 
Secret Instructions — A Controversy Disposed of — 
Durell's Delay — Saunders' Despatch to Pitt . . 93 




A soldier's impatience and a 
sailor's promptitude 


An Imposing Naval Spectacle — Up the St. Lawrence — The 
Humours of a Master — Wolfe's Impatience — Truth 
about Saunders' Co-operation — An Interesting Exchange 
of Letters — Wolfe's Victory and Death — Saunders goes 
to Assist Hawke . . . . . . .111 



Saunders Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean — 
Searching out the Enemy — A Diplomatic Service — 
Bourbon Intrigue — Important Captures — Holding up 
Big Ships . . . . . .153 



Anson's Secret Express — Saunders on Marseilles and Cadiz 
— Hay's Mysterious Request — Spain joins in the War 
— Death of Anson — Bute's Peace . . . .175 



Saunders' Duties and Interests — A New Command — 
First Lord of the Admiralty — Corsica — Falkland's 
Island — Quebec Act — Various Tributes — An Elegy . 199 

Appendix : Wolfe's Last Orders . . 233 
Index 239 

List of Illustrations 



in the painted hall at Greenwich . Frontispiece 







Life of 
Admiral Saunders 


Neptune with wonder heard the story 
Of George's sway and Britain's glory. 

Which time shall ne'er subdue ; 
Boscawen's deeds and Saunders' fame, 
Join'd with brave Wolfe's immortal name, 

Then cried, Can this be true ? 1 

A STUDY of the eighteenth century is, m a 
way, like a study of the heavenly bodies : 
the closer and more intimate the inquiry, the 
greater the number of stars of importance, whose 
existence was hardly recognised, which are found 
to have a place in the firmament. The century 
of Marlborough and Walpole and Chatham, of 
Clive and Wolfe, of Carleton and Warren Hast- 
ings, of Anson and Hawke and Rodney, of 
St. Vincent and Nelson, provides so striking a 
list of personalities that we are apt to be content 
to follow the fortunes only of familiar names. 
In the crowded gallery of national and Imperial 
portraits is little room for men of lesser renown. 

1 Firth, Naval Songs and Ballads, Navy Records Society. 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

The exceptions are the great failures, the 
Pelhams, the Byngs, the Norths, and, if you will, 
the Georges. But niches should be found for 
men whose achievements, of a character not 
always understood, and therefore not considered 
in the popular sense, were limited not so much 
by their own capacity as by the force of 

Admiral Sir Charles Saunders is a case in 
point. Thousands could tell what Wolfe and 
Hawke did without being able to mention any 
of the great services rendered by one who was 
a colleague of both. Saunders was Admiral 
in Command in the St. Lawrence during the 
anxious weeks when the fate of Quebec, and 
with it of Empires, was in the balance. He was 
one of the great men of the eighteenth century, 
though his record is less dazzling than that of 
some others whose services every history 
acclaims. If Wolfe's colleague on the St. 
Lawrence had been less loyal, less able, less 
single-purposed, the victory which has made 
the Heights of Abraham and Wolfe immortal 
would not have been possible. 

Unfortunately Charles Saunders was not the 
assiduous correspondent, revealing his moods 
and his ideas from day to day, that Wolfe 
was. It is pretty certain, too, that the por- 
trait of him given in some books is of little 


more value as a likeness than the bulk of 
the pictures of Wolfe. Physiognomy and 
character must to some extent reflect each 
other, and it is as hard to see in the coarse 
lineaments, the ugly, thick-nosed visage of 
some of the pictures of Saunders, the man we 
may imagine him to have been, as it is to recon- 
cile the genius and resolution of Wolfe with the 
triangular profile of most of the so-called por- 
traits. If the pictures of Wolfe and Saunders 
which have come down to us are authentic, 
then it can only be said that seldom have a less 
prepossessing pair worked together for the 
glory of their race. Brompton's and Reynolds' 
portraits are more in keeping with my view 
of the man than the pictures scattered through 
old books. 

Even Westminster Abbey has contributed 
to the obscurity which time bestowed on 
Saunders, and from which he has recently 
been only partially rescued by the researches 
of naval historians like Mr. Julian Corbett and 
Major William Wood. Wolfe was buried at 
Greenwich, but the monument to him is one 
of the most striking in the Abbey. Close at 
hand in the Islip Chapel is Saunders' tomb. 
You may search in vain for any inscription 
marking the spot. He lies beneath a couple of 
ordinary rough stones which bear no mark. 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

To get any explanation of this extraordinary 
neglect is apparently impossible. How does it 
happen that nobody has thought it worth while 
even to record the fact that beneath these 
common paving flags is buried one certainly 
worthy of this corner in the National Valhalla ? 
We only know where he lies from the plans 
published in the Guide to the Abbey prepared 
by Mrs. Henry Birchenough and Mrs. A. Murray 

Saunders has been spoken of as " one of the 
uncrowned kings of the sea," a man who " had 
everything in life to make him great except 
the one supreme opportunity of commanding 
a fleet in action." 1 As Major Wood says, 
" One day's luck makes all the difference — to 
ready skill," and how ready was the skill of 
Charles Saunders in all the various circum- 
stances of his adventurous career we may glean 
from the scattered items to be found in naval 
annals and in the manuscripts and papers 
preserved in the British Museum and the 
Record Office. Admiral Mahan says Saunders 
was " one of the most distinguished admirals 
of that generation " 2 — the generation of the 
Seven Years' War. Mr. Corbett in his invalu- 
able history of that war refers to Saunders as 

1 Wood, The Fight for Canada. 

2 Mahan, Types of Naval Officers. 



" this almost forgotten officer/ ' whose name 
in his opinion has never held the place in naval 
annals that it deserves. 1 " Apart from the 
high war services he rendered, Saunders was 
second in the chain of our great naval First 
Lords, and as such he embodies the great 
tradition which came down to him through 
Anson and passed it on through Howe and 
St. Vincent to Nelson. As Saunders was the 
protege of Anson, so Saunders was now fostering 
in his flagship the promise of Jervis. Of all 
the fine young officers the war was breeding 
Jervis was the one in whom he displayed the 
warmest interest, and as Anson made Saunders 
so did Saunders make St. Vincent. " The 
reference here, of course, is to Jervis's selection 
to accompany Saunders on the expedition to 

Incidentally the life of Saunders should serve 
to throw a certain amount of light on the navy 
in the eighteenth century, and the improvements 
which he and one or two others managed to 
effect in the relations of the sister services by a 
proper recognition that army and navy are 
jointly necessary to the security of an Empire 
such as ours. Not always did the leaders of 
joint expeditions work with the harmony and 
goodwill which marked the conduct of men like 

1 Corbett, England in the Seven Years' War, Vol. i. 


9— -(22 1 8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

Amherst and Boscawen, Wolfe and Saunders. 
Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth added 
to their troubles in the Carthagena expedition 
of 1740 by their mutual recriminations and 
contempt ; nor, as Campbell says, did the 
mischief end with the commanders : " each had 
his separate cabal, and the spirit of discord 
was diffused through the whole fleet and army." 1 
The Rochefort expedition threw the differences 
of Hawke and Mordaunt into sharp relief. 
Sometimes, indeed, the spirit was so bad that 
men in the same service quarrelled to the 
detriment of national interests : to wit, 
Matthews and Lestock. The navy itself was 
a very rough, at times almost a barbarous 
school, and though the century was one of 
invention and progress, both in the construction 
of ships and the science of navigation, its 
records, brilliant in their sum, are often appal- 
lingly sordid and unwholesome. Governments, 
at any rate before the time of Pitt and Anson, 
neglected the navy in a way that makes it 
wonderful Great Britain was ever able to 
secure and keep command of the sea. The 
numbers of its personnel rose and fell between 
1700 and 1750 from 7,000 to 40,000 and back 
again to 8,000, and it was not till the Seven 
Years' War that 50,000 and ultimately 70,000 

* Naval History, Vol. iv. 



were on the establishment. In peace time the 
personnel of the navy was reduced almost to 
vanishing point, and in war time every one 
capable of walking was liable to be seized for a 
service which he did not understand, and 
often was absolutely unfitted for. Even crip- 
ples were pressed in order to make up a ship's 
complement. The ships themselves were often 
floating death-traps when sickness attacked 
the crew. Heroic performances appear all the 
more remarkable when we know something of 
the conditions in which the sailor lived, moved, 
and had his being. It was a time of violent 
contrasts. They were the days when the sailor 
either died of insanitary conditions, or survived 
to reap a fortune in prize-money or to be turned 
adrift penniless. What the state of the navy 
was we know from Smollett, whose imagination 
may be credited with many horrors, but was not 
wholly irresponsible in describing the ghastly 
ordeal of life afloat in those times. The proceeds 
of the rich prizes which were taken from French- 
man and Spaniard were, of course, shared by 
the men, and brought some compensation for 
the misery endured. To appreciate British 
achievements on the sea during the War of the 
Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War 
the accompanying circumstances must be known. 
The sordid went hand in hand with the heroic \ 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

disease accounted for more victims than the 
enemy's bullets ; sublime courage was fostered 
in supremest discomfort ; and the press-gang 
was the whipper-in of galley slaves who generally 
responded to the call of leaders like Hawke and 
Saunders as needle responds to magnet. The 
officers were with rare exceptions the roughest 
of rough diamonds. Leaders of the type of 
Anson and Saunders were, with all their hard 
bitter experience, well in advance of their time 
in their chivalry and desire to improve the 
conditions of naval service. They set an exam- 
ple which made for later reforms ; they did 
much for the professional training and education 
of those officers who were to carry the British 
navy to its highest pitch of glory, 1 and they 
assisted to make the officer something more 
than the embodiment of that bull-dog courage 
which in the first half of the eighteenth century 
was his most distinguishing characteristic. 

It affords some idea of the rough-and-ready — 
often even more rough than ready — character of 
naval service down to the middle of the eight- 
eenth century to understand that before 1749 
officers wore whatever fancy dictated as the 
most effective costume on duty as well as off. 
When at last they came to the conclusion that 
the dignity of the service demanded they should 

1 Laird Clowes, Social England. 



adopt some sort of uniform, and petitioned the 
King accordingly, they asked, says Mr. Hannay, 
for "a blue uniform with red facings or a red 
uniform with blue facings/' 1 Another author- 
ity tells us that the blue jacket came near to 
being " grey faced with red." Timothy Brett, 
writing to Captain Philip Saumarez in 1747, 2 
says : "I told Keppel of your uniform. I find 
it is going to be general. He is going to have 
one made up which is to be grey, faced with 
red and laced in the manner you describe yours : 
this and two or three others are to appear at 
Court for the King's approbation." Keppel 
wore a jockey cap at the taking of Payta ! It 
was desired that as many officers as possible 
should make coats according to their own views, 
and a choice be made of one to become general. 
The question was settled when the King saw 
the Duchess of Bedford in her riding habit of 
blue with white facings. " It charmed him," 
says Mr. Hannay, " and he gave the colour and 
the facings to the navy, which was not the least 
wise thing King George the Second did in his 
time — the old navy uniform, the blue coat 
relieved with white and gold, the white knee- 
breeches and stockings, was one of the most 
becoming ever worn." 

1 Rodney. 

8 Life of Augustus, Viscount Keppel. 


A Somersetshire Lad 

A Somersetshire Lad 

Early Days — Lieutenant of the Centurion — Beginnings of 
Anson's Voyage — Round the Horn — Juan Fernandez. 

"1PHE first difficulty that confronts one 
^ in preparing a biography of Charles 
Saunders is to ascertain approximately the 
date of his birth and to determine his parent- 
age. He was probably born before or about 
the year 1713. According to his certificate he 
was 21 when he passed his examination for the 
Navy in 1734, but Sir John Laughton 1 thinks 
he would have been three or four years younger. 
That would make the date of his birth 1716 
or 1717 : the year 1720, given in the list of flag 
officers, by Clowes, is obviously wrong. 2 Sir 
John Laughton says Saunders was "probably 
a near relative (there is no mention of him in 
George's will which seems to negative the sug- 
gestion that he was a son) " of Sir George 
Saunders, the distinguished Rear-admiral, who 
died in 1734. The one thing about Saunders* 
birth which can I think be definitely affirmed is, 

1 Dictionary of National Biography. 
1 Clowes, Royal Navy, Vol. iii. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

that he was not Sir George Saunders 1 son. 
The branch of the Saunders family from which 
Charles sprang was settled in the sixteenth 
century, if not long before, near Bridgwater 
in Somersetshire. It is said the family were 
descended from one of the Counts of Hapsburg, 
but there is nothing to show how they got 
the name of Saunders. 

Sometime early in the seventeenth century 
I gather that one George Saunders lived at 
Huntspill in a house known as Saunders' 
Court and had five children, the youngest being 
James, the father of the future Admiral Sir 
Charles. James Saunders lived near Bridg- 
water, and of his children the only two who 
concern us were the subject of this biography, 
and his sister Ann. Ann Saunders married one 
Peter Kinsey and is interesting as the mother 
of Jane, Saunders' niece, who married Richard 
Huck. At Saunders* death the Hucks took the 
name of Huck-Saunders, and their children, 
Anne and Jane, married respectively the second 
Viscount Melville, and the tenth Earl of 

So far as is known the only association of 
Saunders' family with the navy came through 
the Carliels, one of whose earlier sons distin- 
guished himself in some of Drake's expedi- 
tions. The Carliels were neighbours of and 


A Somersetshire Family 

indirectly related to the Saunderses, but 
whether there was anything in the association 
to turn Charles' attention to the sea must 
be matter for pure conjecture. All we can say 
is that Saunders was a Somersetshire lad ; he 
may have been educated at Bridgwater or at 
Bristol, or he may have been sent farther afield. 
My inclination would be to assume that he 
went to Bristol and in that port heard stories 
of the expeditions, from Cabot's time down to 
his own, which fired his imagination and left 
him no choice but to become a sailor. 

Was he a King's Letter Boy ? He probably 
commanded enough interest to secure the Letter 
of Service which would assist preferment. Sir 
John Laughton says he entered the Navy on 
board the Seahorse towards the end of 1727, 
under " another kinsman," Captain Ambrose 
Saunders, though what the relationship was 
he does not indicate and I cannot determine. 
Ambrose Saunders died in 1731, and the boy 
was sent to the Hector , commanded by Captain 
Solgard, with whom he served in the Mediter- 
ranean till 1734. * One would give much to 
be able to trace his life at this time more 
closely, if only to know to what extent the 
boy was father to the man. 

In general eighteenth century records we first 

1 Dictionary of National Biography. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

hear of him as first lieutenant on board the 
Centurion , in which Commodore Anson embarked 
in 1740 on his famous voyage round the world — 
that voyage which, for hardship, cost in human 
life, dogged endurance, and ultimate success, 
is one of the most remarkable and fascinating 
in the history of adventure and exploration. 
Anson had a knack of finding out the best 
men to assist him in any important work he 
might be called on to undertake ; all his 
officers and captains achieved distinction. On 
board the Centurion as a midshipman was 
Augustus Keppel, the future Admiral, and 
Saunders' great friend in the years to come. 
It is a tribute to the impression Saunders had 
already made that he should have been among 
those selected to accompany the great secret 
expedition which, on the outbreak of war with 
Spain in 1739, it was decided to send to 
attack the more or less ill-defended Spanish 
settlements in South Ameiica and the Eastern 
Seas, and capture heavily-laden treasure- 
ships. Anson was at first to go by the Cape 
of Good Hope, whilst another fleet went by 
Cape Horn. Plans, however, were changed, and 
Anson was ordered to the South Seas by way 
of the Horn. The administration of the navy 
had been allowed to fall into so hopeless a 
state that he received, in June, instructions 


Anson s Difficulties 

dated the previous January ! x It took the 
Admiralty six months to complete the making up 
of its mind, after the long period of Sir Robert 
Walpole's peace-at-any- price government. 

Anson threw himself with vigour into his 
preparations, but obstacle on obstacle barred 
progress. His squadron wanted men, and 
admirals who were ordered to let him have 300, 
sent him half that number, and of that half 
a considerable proportion was taken from 
hospital. Bland's regiment and three com- 
panies of 100 men each were to be the military 
complement. Five hundred aged, decrepit, 
maimed out-pensioners went from Chelsea Hos- 
pital instead, and of the 500 one-half reached 
the ship, the stronger members of the contin- 
gent having deserted whenever possible. Maybe 
the authorities in their wisdom thought the 
sea voyage might turn the invalid pensioner 
into a hardy marine. Experience was to prove, 
what the authorities should have anticipated, 
that the stoutest sailor stood a poor chance 
of survival on such a mission. Some raw 
marines were ordered to make good the balance 
of the Chelsea pensioners. Not till the 10th 

1 A Voyage Round the World, by George Anson, Esq., 
compiled by Richard Walter, M.A., Chaplain of the Centurion. 
This is practically the only source of information as to the 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

August did the squadron leave Spithead for 
St. Helens. Contrary winds combined with 
Admiralty orders to cause more delay ; 
another month went by before Anson was able 
to set sail, and then an order that he was to 
convoy certain merchantmen as far as possible 
involved further loss of time. 

The result was the expedition got off at a 
period when weather conditions were certain 
to handicap it, and the interval between the 
issue of orders and the start gave the Spaniards 
the opportunity of learning more about Anson's 
purpose than an enemy should know of a secret 
mission. Evidence of this was forthcoming at 
Madeira as well as later in the voyage. Anson's 
squadron consisted of the Centurion 60 ; the 
Gloucester, 50 ; Severn, 50 ; Pearl, 40 ; Wager, 
28 ; Tryal sloop, 8, and two Victuallers. It 
was only by a lucky chance that Anson escaped 
the immediate attention of Don Joseph Pizarro 
and his squadron of battleships, most of which 
were ultimately lost in the effort to waylay or 
overtake the expedition in the neighbourhood 
of Cape Horn. From Madeira, Anson struck 
across to St. Catherine's off the coast of Brazil. 
Already the health of the men, notwithstanding 
Anson's care, was suffering from their confine- 
ment under tropic conditions. When the Cen- 
turion reached St. Catherine's over 20 per cent. 

Saunders First Command 

of her complement were seriously sick, and on 
the other ships things were equally bad. After 
five weeks on the island, the number of sick 
was greater than on the day the squadron 
arrived. Officers suffered as much as the men, 
and Saunders not the least among them. 

It was the 18th January before Anson was 
able to resume his voyage. Then stress of 
weather cost the Tryal her mainmast, and the 
squadron put in at St. Julian to enable the 
sloop to refit. The Pearl got separated and 
was not heard of again for a month. When 
she reappeared she attempted to escape the 
friendly attention of the Gloucester, having been 
nearly caught during her solitary cruise by a 
Spanish ship which carried a red penant in 
imitation of Anson's. The Pearl, not to be 
deceived twice, therefore ran away from the 
Gloucester. Her report was gloomy. Her cap- 
tain had died within a fortnight of leaving St. 
Catherine's. The necessity for finding a suc- 
cessor led to the transference of the Captain 
of the Tryal to the Wager, and Anson selected 
Charles Saunders to command the Tryal. 
Saunders, however, was ill, dangerously ill 
with fever, on the Centurion, " and it being the 
opinion of the surgeon that to remove him on 
board his own ship in his then condition might 
tend to the hazard of his life, Mr. Anson gave 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

an order to Mr. Saumarez, first lieutenant of 
the Centurion, to act as Master and Commander 
of the Tryal during the illness of Captain 
Saunders." x 

Probably Saunders took over his first com- 
mand immediately before or immediately after 
leaving St. Julian — at or about the end of 
February. Apparently he was not at the 
council of war on board the Centurion sum- 
moned by the Commodore on the 24th. At 
this meeting Anson proposed, and it was agreed, 
that when they arrived in the South Seas, the 
town of Valdivia should be first attacked in 
order that the Admiral might have easily avail- 
able some port where his ships after their long 
voyage could be careened and refitted. Should 
the squadron get separated in passing from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific, the ships were to 
cruise for ten days off the island of Nuestra 
Senoro del Socoro : failing reunion with the 
Commodore they were to make their way to 
Valdivia and if, after cruising off the harbour 
for fourteen days, they were still without sight 
or news of him, they were to make their way 
to Juan Fernandez. On the 27th February, the 
day of departure from St. Julian, the Gloucester 
provided a presage of the trouble in store by 
her inability to raise her anchor. She had to 

1 Walter, A Voyage Round the World. 


Rounding the Horn 

cut her cable in order to join the squadron. 
Prudence demanded that the ships should keep 
together as far as possible. Anson could not 
tell at what moment they might be con- 
fronted by Pizarro, who would certainly not 
have given up the search for him. A more 
dreaded enemy than the Spanish fleet was in 
wait — if Anson had but known — yet a friendly 
enemy who so far disposed of the Spanish 
fleet as to make it out of Pizarro's power to do 
much mischief. When the Centurion and its 
companions reached Le Maire Straits they 
encountered conditions of wind and sea 
of which the oldest sailors among them had 
never experienced the like. A few hours' fair 
weather was the herald of storm ; Anson and his 
officers were not too certain of their geography, 
and when hurricanes were tearing their sails to 
shreds, or carrying their masts overboard, when 
furious currents swept them helplessly away to 
the eastward, and men who attempted to go 
about their duties were thrown upon the decks 
like ninepins, or into the raging seas, they 
discovered by bitter experience that the stories 
brought back from the Horn by previous 
navigators were not exaggerated as they thought 
but fell short of the fact. 

The Tryal and the Pearl led the way, and 
Captain Saunders* mettle was put to the 


3— (aax8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

severest test. The pumps went wrong, and 
the sloop made so much water that she was 
not safe until the Commodore was able to 
come to her assistance with a pump from the 

Six weeks after leaving St. Julian, the squad- 
ron was considered to have well cleared Tierra 
del Fuego and to be " within the limits of the 
southern ocean." " On the 13th April we were 
but a degree in latitude to the southward of 
the west entrance of the Streights of Magellan ; 
so that we fully expected in a few days to have 
experienced the celebrated tranquillity of the 
Pacifick Ocean. " 1 The happy anticipation was 
rudely dispelled on the morning of the 14th 
when land was discovered right ahead. The 
squadron was already beating north and nothing 
but a providential change in the wind could 
have saved it from going ashore. Not half the 
distance westward on which they calculated 
had been made : the discovery was the more 
distressing because men were falling sick with 
every hour, and every hand was valuable ; the 
ships were less than ever fitted to face the 
pitiless buffetings, and to make matters more 
gloomy two of their number, the Severn and 
the Pearl, disappeared and, so far as Anson's 
voyage was concerned, neither was to be seen 

1 A Voyage Round the World. 


A Haven of Hope 

again. One by one the remaining vessels were 
lost sight of ; we can judge of Saunders* ex- 
perience with the Tryal by the record of what 
happened to Anson and the Centurion. Arriving 
off Socoro on the 8th May and cruising about 
according to arrangement, the Centurion looked 
in vain for a single member of the squadron. 
Anson faced considerable perils during a whole 
fortnight off a lee shore, in squally weather 
and one terrific storm which sent consternation 
to the hearts of most on board. The sickness 
grew worse, until it became absolutely necessary 
to make for Juan Fernandez if Anson was to 
save the remnant of his crew. Scurvy had the 
manhood of the vessel in its grips. Fresh air, 
fresh water, fresh food must be found. The 
idea of making Valdivia, according to pro- 
gramme, was abandoned, it being practically 
certain none of the ships had gone there. 

The Centurion lost much time in striking 
Juan Fernandez : the charts did not show it 
in its proper position, and it was not till the 
9th June that it was located. Men had died 
off so rapidly and the majority of those alive 
were in such a state of debility that only by 
the assistance of officers, servants, and boys, 
was the island actually reached at last — 
a haven of hope if ever there was one. They 
had not long been at anchor in fifty-six fathoms 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

of water in the northern bay when a sail 
appeared — friend or enemy ? To the joy of the 
Commodore the Try at sloop was made out. 
Her plight was as bad as that of the Centurion. 
Richard Walter says : " We immediately sent 
some of our hands on board her, by whose 
assistance she was brought to an anchor be- 
tween us and the land. We soon found that 
the sloop had not been exempted from the 
same calamities which we had so severely felt, 
for the commander, Captain Saunders, waiting 
on the Commodore informed him that out of 
his small complement he had buried thirty-four 
of his men, and those that remained were so 
miserably afflicted with the scurvy that only 
himself, his lieutenant, and three of his men 
were able to stand by the sails. The Tryal 
came to an anchor within us on the 12th, about 
noon, and we carried our hawsers on board her 
in order to moor ourselves further inshore, but 
the wind coming off the land in violent gusts, 
prevented our mooring in the birth we intended/ ' 
Then began the heartrending business of 
erecting tents and trying to get the sick on 
shore. The poor wretches were so ill that they 
were moved bodily in their hammocks, and 
many died instantly they were brought into 
the fresh air. The work devolving on the few 
in health was so heavy that Anson himself 


The Gloucester 

had to lend a helping hand in the gruesome 
task. For a week or more, of those who sur- 
vived the removal, five or six died daily. Ten 
days after the arrival of the Tryal, another 
vessel was sighted ; it was not till the 26th 
that the strange sail was ascertained to be 
the Gloucester. Her crew was worse off than 
that of the Centurion or the Tryal, because 
the fresh water on board was practically 
exhausted. The Commodore sent his boat out 
to her, but the wind was contrary, and " the 
Tryal' s boat manned by the Centurion's people " 
was despatched to her relief. Both boats were 
detained by the Captain. Without the addition 
to his crew of the men from the other ships, 
there was no longer sufficient strength to navi- 
gate the Gloucester, which for a fortnight was 
kept outside the bay and then disappeared 
altogether. A week elapsed — a week of the 
gravest anxiety to Anson and Saunders — and 
the Gloucester was back again. More assistance 
was necessary, and the Commodore then sent 
his long boat, but with positive orders to return 
at once. The orders simply could not be 
obeyed. The weather was too much for the 
long boat and it was feared she was lost. Three 
days later, however, she came back with the 
most dreadful tidings of the state of affairs on 
the Gloucester. She brought away six sick men, 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

and two were dead before they reached the 
bay. It was the 23rd July before the Gloucester 
was able to get in, having spent more than a 
month in the effort within sight of the sorely 
needed relief : surely the most maddening of 
all tortures. 

When at last the Gloucester was riding safely 
in the bay and her commander was able to 
report in person to the Commodore, he ex- 
plained that he had been forced as far west 
as Mas a Fuero, and from his description of his 
experiences, Anson thought other ships might 
have gone there too, mistaking it for Juan 
Fernandez. He therefore decided to send 
Captain Saunders to Mas a Fuero in the Tryal, 
fitting her out from the Centurion and the 
Gloucester. On the 9th August the Tryal 
weighed anchor, but the wind dropped and she 
began to drift helplessly with the tide. Her 
position became dangerous, and Saunders had 
to show lights and fire guns for assistance. 
Boats put off, and the Tryal was towed back 
into the bay. The following day she set out 
again, this time successfully. Ten days later 
a sail appeared, and Anson believed it was 
Saunders returning. That idea was dispelled 
after a while by the rig of the newcomer, which 
ultimately proved to be the Victualler Anna, 
of which the last news had been brought in by 


Again Ready 

Saunders. She and the Tryal had been in 
company off the coast of Chile from the 9th 
to the 13th May — three months' ago. The 
Anna had more extraordinary experiences, but 
happily not as heartrending, to be put to the 
account of this extraordinary voyage. Her 
arrival was welcome, notwithstanding that many 
of her provisions were bad when examined — 
no uncommon thing in eighteenth century naval 
commissariat records. 

Saunders found nothing at Mas a Fuero and 
returned to Juan Fernandez a week after the 
Anna arrived. The Victualler was condemned 
as unseaworthy, and Anson bought what in 
her was worth having, taking her papers on 
board either the Centurion or the Gloucester, 
and converting her foremast into a mainmast 
for the Tryal. By September the ships were 
refitted and the invalids restored to health. 
Twelve months after leaving England Anson 
was, therefore, once more ready to embark, 
though with sadly reduced resources, on the 
main business of his voyage. The mortality 
had been heartbreaking : there were 960 men 
on the three ships when they left St. Helens : 
335 remained, a number insufficient for the 
proper manning of the Centurion alone. Yet 
Anson was prepared to go forth gaily to meet 
Pizarro or any other enemy he could find in 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

those seas. His courage and confidence were 
superb, and an example which his officers never 
forgot. Saunders, as his whole career showed, 
did not fail to profit by it. 

A Spanish sail, the first seen since their 
arrival at Juan Fernandez, appeared. The 
Centurion was out in pursuit like a terrier after 
a rat. She missed her quarry after a long 
chase, but she captured instead the Nuestra 
Senora del Monte Carmelo laden with valuable 
merchandise and plate on her way from Callao 
to Valparaiso. From the papers on board, as 
well as the prisoners taken Anson gleaned the 
extremely interesting news that Pizarro's fleet 
had been on the watch for him off the coast of 
Peru and Juan Fernandez right down to the 
6th June — only three days before he reached 
the island. Had he not missed it at first he 
would have run right into the Spaniard's arms, 
and Centurion, Gloucester , and Tryal would have 
been disposed of in detail. Any show of resis- 
tance, in their plight at the time, would have 
been practically impossible. Doubtless the 
Spaniards thought the British dogs had all 
gone to the bottom, and when some of Anson's 
prisoners first saw the Tryal they are said to 
have marvelled that such a vessel could be 
built on the island in so short a time : it never 
occurred to them that so small a craft could 


Astonished Spaniards 

have survived a passage round the Horn in 
conditions which would have turned back some 
of the best of Spanish ships. They were as 
amazed as were the French eighteen years 
later when Saunders safely navigated the St. 
Lawrence with his big ships and Wolfe's trans- 
ports. It was part of Saunders* business in life, 
early and late, to show Spaniard and French- 
man that he could go where many of the bravest 
and most resourceful of their compatriots hardly 
dared venture. 


Pacific and Unpacific 

Pacific and Unpacific 

Saunders' First Prize — Harrying the Spaniard — Disasters 
and Adventures — Many Scuttlings and Big Captures. 

A T the beginning of September, the Com- 
modore despatched Captain Saunders on 
an important mission. The Try al with a crew 
strengthened by ten men from the Centurion 
was to cruise off Valparaiso and waylay Spanish 
merchantmen. Anson meanwhile converted the 
Carmelo into a man-of-war by mounting guns 
from the Anna. He sent certain passengers 
and seamen from the captured vessel to assist 
the working of the Gloucester. The slender 
number of hands now had four ships and 
prisoners as well to look after. With the 
Centurion and the Carmelo, Anson intended to 
join the Tryal off Valparaiso during the third 
week in September. On his way he discovered 
two ships, one making straight for the Cen- 
turion. He correctly took her for a Spaniard. 
He was preparing to give her a broadside 
when he learned that she was in charge of 
Mr. Hughes, Saunders' lieutenant. Saunders 
had not been long in securing a prize. The 
second vessel was the Tryal herself with crippled 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

masts. Captain Saunders went on board the 
Centurion and reported, according to Walter, that 
he had taken the ship on the 18th September. 
" She was a prime sailer and had cost him 
thirty-six hours' chase before he could come 
up with her. For some time he gained so little 
on her that he began to despair of taking her. 
The Spaniards, though alarmed at first with 
seeing nothing but a cloud of sail in pursuit of 
them, the TryaVs hull being so low in the water 
that no part of it appeared, yet knowing the 
goodness of their ship and finding how little 
the Tryal neared them, they at length laid aside 
their fears, and recommending themselves to 
the Blessed Virgin for protection, began to 
think themselves secure. Indeed their success 
was very near doing honour to their Ave Marias, 
for, altering their course in the night and shut- 
ting up their windows to prevent any of their 
lights being seen, they had some chance of 
escaping, but a small crevice in one of the 
shutters rendered all their invocations ineffec- 
tual, for through this crevice the people on 
board the Tryal perceived a light, which they 
chased till they arrived within gunshot, and 
then Captain Saunders alarmed them unex- 
pectedly with a broadside when they flattered 
themselves they had got out of his reach. 
However, for some time after they still kept 
the same sail abroad, and it was not observed 


The TryaPs Prize 

that this first salute had made any impression 
on them ; but just as the Try al was preparing 
to repeat her broadside the Spaniards crept 
from their holes, lowered their sails, and sub- 
mitted without any opposition. She was one 
of the largest merchantmen employed in those 
seas, being about 600 tons burthen, and was 
called Arranzazu." 

The Tryal had performed her last service. 
She had sprung her mainmast, her maintop- 
mast was gone, and in a fresh gale she sprung 
her foremast also. She was actually in danger 
of going down and made much water though 
the pumps were worked vigorously. The 
Commodore saw her case was hopeless and 
it was decided there was nothing to be done 
but to transfer whatever was possible from the 
Tryal to the Arranzazu — henceforth to be 
called the Tryal' s Prize — and arm her with 
twenty guns. She had at one time been used 
as a man-of-war by the Viceroy of Peru and 
now became a British frigate. Saunders records 
in his log : — * 

"Sept. 26, 1741. Fresh gales and hazy with 
a large swell from ye seward. This day 
[received ?] my commission from Commodore 
Anson to be Captain of His Majt's ship, Try all 
Prize, w h orders to remove myself and officers, 
men, provisions, arms, ammunition, sails, 
anchors, cables, with all His Majt's stores 

1 Captain's Logs, 995, P.R.O. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

belonging to said sloop Try all on his said Majt' s 
ship Tryall Prize which when done to sink ye 
said sloop Tryall to prevent her hull being 
discovered in these seas, then to proceed and 
cruize off the High land of Valparaiso taking 
with me his prize y e Nuestra Senora del Carrnela, 
in charge of Lieut. Saumarez. If not joined 
by ye Commodore in 24 days to proceed to 
cruise of Pisco and Nasca in ye latt. s. 14*30 
and not finding ye Commodore there, to proceed 
to Payta in ye latt. s. 17-60." 

Saunders began to clear out the Tryal the 
next day with the assistance of a small launch 
from the Commodore : two days later a heavy 
swell and fresh winds caused delay, and the 
moving operation was not complete till the 
4th October when the Tryal was scuttled. 
On the 17th, after thirteen days of moderate 
or fresh gales, with " large swells alternating 
with rain " and hazy conditions generally, the 
Tryal and her companion sighted land " E. by 
S. to E.N.E." They bore away north keeping 
land in sight some leagues distant. Early 
in November, Saunders was joined by the 
Commodore and was ordered to keep within 
three leagues of the land in the hope of dis- 
covering ships. Anson captured the Santa 
Teresa de Jesus ; in that event Saunders had no 
hand. This was one of the captures which gave 
Anson an opportunity of exercising a humanity 


The Attack on Payta 

towards prisoners, men and women alike, which 
startled them, because it was in such striking 
contrast not only with the bearing of the 
Spaniards towards British prisoners, but with 
the common and occasionally true reports of 
British brutality. A day or two later the 
Nuestra Senora del Carmine " from Patia bound 
to Lyma " was taken. Saunders, judging from 
his log, took an active part in the capture, 
though it does not appear so from Walter's 
narrative. Then came the attack on Payta. 
On the 13th November he records : — 

"I sent my pinnace with a lieut. in company 
with y e command ts boats and two Spanish 
pilots in shore in order to attackt y e town of 
Patia at 3 a.m. Ye attackt ye town and took 
it with only the lost of 1 man and two wound' d 
imployed in working into the Bay." 

Saunders in his log is necessarily laconic : 
in any case he would not have been diffusive, 
for the attacking of towns and capturing of 
vessels was to him all in the day's work. The 
town was plundered on the 14th, and on the 
following day, Saunders says : — " sent ashore 
all our prisoners except eighteen negroes and 
six Indians, which is kept to assure y e ship 
imployed in getting things out of y e town." 
The sacking complete the town was set ablaze, 


4— (aai8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

and ships were cut adrift and scuttled. They 
left Payta on the 17th with prizes, and twenty- 
four hours after were joined by the Gloucester. 
On the 23rd :— 

"Rec d from his Majt's ship Gloucester, bread 
3660 pds. flower 3484 p<*s, Brandy 435 (?) 
gall*s, beef 1004 pieces, pork 984 pieces, rice 
1440 pds, oyl 87 gallons." 

For the next three months they were cruising 
about with instructions in case of separation to 
make the land to the north of " Accapulca," 
then proceed to the middle island of Tres 
Marias. Failing to find Anson there, Saunders 
was to make the best of his way to the island of 
Macao at the entrance of the Canton River. 
If there is nothing very exciting in this log, 
there are many touches which serve to convey 
an idea of the life lived by Saunders and his 
men, ever on the watch for the chance of snap- 
ping up a prize or doing mischief to Spanish 
interests, passing the time one day catching 
turtles, another mending sails. One night in 
January, " off the island of Cocas/' a 
light appeared. Saunders signalled to the 
Centurion and Gloucester that a sail was ahead, 
and all three gave chase promptly, hoping that 
it might prove to be on board the rich Manila 
galleon for which they were on the look-out. 


From "Anson' I oyage Round the World. 


On the Coast of Santa Fe in the South Sea 


A Chase in the Dark 

Walter gives an account of the precautions 
taken ; not a shot was to be fired till the 
Commodore gave explicit orders, but every gun 
was loaded " with two round shot for the first 
broadside/ ' Throughout the night the silent 
race was maintained, some on the Centurion 
at least being at times able to discern the 
sails of the strange vessel. Soon they expected 
to come up with her. Till 6 a.m. the chase 
continued, when land was sighted, and, says 
Saunders, " found the light we had chas'd to 
be a burning mountain/ ' 

On the 1st March they were off " the high 
lands " of Acapulco, and the Commodore made 
his dispositions with a view to capture the 
Manila treasure-ship, but she did not make 
her appearance ; his presence had been dis- 
covered and the galleon was detained. Anson 
then decided to attack Acapulco and secure 
her, but full reflection convinced him that his 
chances, with the force he had, were slender. 
He therefore changed his plans and sought a 
place where he could replenish his stock of 
fresh water. He made for the harbour of 
Seguataneio or Chequetan, leaving Saunders' 
lieutenant Hughes, in the Commodore's cutter, 
to cruise off Acapulco in case the galleon should 
slip out. The TryaVs Prize with her companions 
moored in Chequetan Harbour on the 11th, 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

and Saunders' notes on the 14th are the most 
illuminating entry in the log : — 

"Capt. Mathew Michell Commodore of his 
Majts ship Glocester having Represented to 
Commod re Anson by letter yt ye seamen on 
board him are so few having buried 2 hundred 
ninty six men since he left England he appre- 
hended it will be impossible for him to navigate 
y e said ship out of these seas and his Maj te 
ship Centurion having also buried 2 hundred 
eighty seven men and y e tryall 40 men has 
Reduc'd ye strength of ye 3 ships to a less 
number than the complement of 1 of ye fourth 
Rates those remains- being in a weak condition 
and none of y e ships having men sufficient to 
work ym in bad weather, therefore Commod r e 
Anson thinks it as well for ye safty of his maj te 
subjects as for the security of both his ships 
to destroy his Majte ship Tryall Prize under my 
command, notwithstanding her being in Repair 
and fitt for the sea to reinforce the said ships 
with her men and for that purpose has given 
orders for surveying and distributing his Maj te 's 
stores in the charge of my officers into y e charge 
of the officers of His Maj te ships Centurion and 
Glocester which when perform' d has given me 
orders untill their arrival in England as the said 
ship will be destroyed For the Benefit of His 
Majte service by distributing the petty officers, 
Seamen and Marins between the ships as part 
of there complement and the Indians and 
Negroes as supernumerarres for victuales only." 


Wholesale Scutt lings 

Among the things sent on board the Cen- 
turion were " two boxes of Church plate.' ' The 
TryaVs Prize was cleared by the 29th April, 
1742, and Saunders* last entry is : — 

" Receiv'd an order from Commodore Geo 
Anson to sink and destroy his Majt's ship Try all 
Prize cut away ye cable and toe her ashore on 
the Rocks, after which set her on fire and went 
myself on board Commodre Anson for a passage 

The prizes Carmelo and Carmine were also 
destroyed, and the Centurion and Gloucester 
left for Acapulco to search for the cutter and 
Mr. Hughes, of whom nothing had been heard 
during six weeks. Little was known of the 
coast except from the not always trustworthy 
accounts given by " the buccaneer writers " ; 
Hughes could not be found and had been given 
up as lost, when the cutter reappeared. Mr. 
Hughes and his companions had survived an 
almost incredible series of adventures and 
hardships. That they escaped at all, says 
Walter, " may be considered as little short of 
miraculous " — not the only element of the 
miraculous associated with Anson's voyage, 
either up to the present or in the future. 

Anson left the coast of Mexico on the 6th 
May for the Ladrones. The wind was against 
him, both ships were " crazy," and his troubles 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

began anew. " We discovered a spring in the 
foremast of the Centurion, which rounded about 
twenty-six inches of its circumference/ ' accord- 
ing to Walter, " and which was judged to be 
at least four inches deep. And no sooner had 
the carpenter secured this mast with fishing it 
than the Gloucester made a signal of distress to 
inform us that she had a spring in her main- 
mast, twelve feet below the trussel trees ; 
which appeared so dangerous that she could 
not carry any sail upon it." When the car- 
penters had put things fairly right and the 
voyage was resumed, scurvy broke out again. 
Seven weeks went by battling with the triple 
worries of adverse winds, rotten masts, and 
ailing crews. They got at last into the trade 
wind which would speedily have taken them 
to the Ladrones, but the Gloucester was in so 
sad a plight that the Centurion had frequently 
to lie in wait for her. Saunders must often 
have thought to himself how much better it 
would have been to scuttle the Gloucester and 
retain the TryaVs Prize as the Centurion's 
consort. At the end of July the crowning 
disaster came to the Gloucester. The wind 
suddenly dropped, and " the ships rolled very 
deep, by which means the Gloucester forecap 
splitting, her fore topmast came by the board 
and broke her foreyard directly in the slings." 


Tinian and a New Trouble 

A day or two more and the Gloucester was little 
better than a wreck. Anson had no choice 
but to order her to be abandoned if he were to 
get on at all. She was cleared of everything 
possible, though much of value taken from the 
prizes secured by the Centurion had to be 
sacrificed. On the 15th August she was set on 
fire. The Centurion, herself not overseaworthy, 
was alone, to face Spanish foe or Pacific terror. 
But Anson with his solitary remnant of 
strength never lost heart for a moment. Be- 
tween the 23rd and the 27th various islands 
were sighted, one of them being Tinian for 
which they made. They captured a proa with 
a Spaniard and some Indians from whom 
they learned that Tinian, rich in fruit and 
overrun with animals and poultry, was used 
by the Spaniards for supplying the garrison 
of Guam. Once again there was the terrible 
business of getting the sick ashore ; many 
more died, and even Anson himself a few days 
later was. down with the scurvy. He lay in a 
tent on shore and was barely convalescent 
when a furious gale brought new trouble. The 
Centurion's cable parted and the vessel dis- 
appeared to the southward. With hardly half 
the number of her in-any-case-inadequate com- 
plement on board it seemed impossible the vessel 
could weather the storm, more particularly 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

as she had sprung a leak which the carpenters 
had in vain attempted to repair. Even 
supposing she did not go to the bottom, could 
they hope to navigate her back to Tinian ? 
Days went by and Anson came to the conclusion 
that the Centurion had joined the Gloucester 
and the rest of his squadron. He and his com- 
panions set about the lengthening of a small 
Spanish bark which they had seized, his 
intention being to try to reach Macao I 

It was a desperate resolution but in Anson's 
view probably the less terrible of two alterna- 
tives : to remain on Tinian and fall into the 
hands of the Spaniards who would treat them 
as pirates, or to take the plunge across unknown 
seas without compass in a diminutive craft 
which might go to the bottom with the first 
storm. The first provided no hope : the second 
a bare chance. Happily long before the work 
of lengthening the boat was complete, a sail in 
the offing proved to be the Centurion. She had 
been absent nineteen days, and the anxieties 
of those on board had been not one whit less 
acute than those of the watchers on shore. 
So weak were the crew that when she broke 
loose it was only after repeated failures they 
managed to get up the mainyard and secure 
some control over the vessel's movements. 
She was carried fifty leagues to the south and 


Arrival at Macao 

west, and as the wind came continuously from 
the east it was a question whether Tinian could 
be made again before the last man collapsed 
from sheer exhaustion. Saumarez, the first 
lieutenant, was in charge. Whether Saunders 
was on shore quietly supporting Anson in his 
resourceful efforts to find a way of escape, or 
whether he was on board to lend Saumarez a 
hand in his almost superhuman task there is 
nothing to show. The chances are he was on 

Once more in possession of his ship, Anson 
lost no time in getting water and fruit into her, 
and starting for Macao. He left Tinian on the 
21st October, and with the eastern monsoon 
blowing made better progress than might have 
been expected of a craft with a serious leak 
and tackle that could no longer be depended 
on. Macao was reached on the 12th November 
" after a voyage of two years, more productive 
of disastrous events, and of human misery with 
loss of life, of disappointed hopes, endured with 
patience, firmness, and perseverance, than any 
naval expedition ever encountered either before 
or since this memorable one of Commodore 
Anson." 1 At Macao the Commodore was 
anxious at once to secure fresh provisions and 
permission to repair his ship. His ignorance of 

1 Barrow, Life of Anson. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Chinese methods on the one hand, and the 
inability of the Chinese to do anything without 
the most maddening procrastination on the 
other both threatened interminable delay. 
Anson was the most patient and courteous of 
men, but he knew when to be firm ; he was 
firm now, and official permits came when he 
pointed out that the Centurion was capable of 
helping herself and of disposing of any force 
the Viceroy of Canton and the Mandarins could 
bring to bear. But that, he added, was not the 
way of civilised people. If Saunders was present 
at one interview he must have been mightily 
amused when Anson, telling the Viceroy's re- 
presentative that his men must and would 
be fed, suggested that under the influence of 
hunger they might turn cannibals, and if they 
did they would no doubt prefer the plump, 
well-fed Chinese to their own emaciated ship- 
mates. We need not follow Anson through the 
difficulties .which kept him at Macao till the 
19th April. In the interval he sent Saunders 
in a Swedish ship with despatches to England. 
How Saunders fared and the actual date of 
his arrival are not on record. As he left Anson 
before the departure from Macao he brought 
news only of disasters and losses, which gave 
the Government and the public the idea that 
the achievements of the voyage were not worth 


The Spanish Treasure Ship 

the cost. The biggest event of the voyage was 
accomplished probably about the time Saunders 
arrived home. In June, 1743, Anson waylaid 
and captured the Spanish galleon Nuestra 
Senora del Caba Donga with specie on board 
valued at a million and a half dollars. He put 
back to Macao, and, having sold the galleon 
itself for 6,000 dollars, started for England on 
the 15th December, 1743, reached the Cape of 
Good Hope in March, and was at Spithead on 
the 15th June, 1744, having sailed in a fog 
right through a French fleet. " Thus," says 
one chronicler, 1 " after a series of most extra- 
ordinary adventures and most dreadful scenes 
of distress did they encompass the globe in 
three years and nine months. All England 
rejoiced at the news ; the treasures taken by 
the Centurion were conveyed in many wagons 
adorned with Spanish flags through the streets 
of London, amidst the acclamations of the mul- 
titudes. Mr. Anson was justly loaded with 
honours, and the meanest sailor who had 
shared in all the dangers and distresses of 
these glorious enterprises had not only the 
satisfaction of having contributed to humble 
the pride of the enemies of his country, but of 
being made rich with the spoils." 

1 Commodore Anson's Voyage Round the World, London, 
1764. A shortened and revised edition of Walter's book. 


From the Channel to the 

From the Channel to the Mediterranean 

With Norris and Hawke — The Truth about the Yarmouth — 
Sailors and the Marriage Act — " A Cargo of Courage " — 
Saunders in the Mediterranean — Barbary Pirates — The 
Seven Years' War. 

Tj^NGLAND was fighting France on the high 
seas and in Flanders in both her own 
and Maria Theresa's interests. Captain Saunders 
was not long unemployed, as one may gather 
from an odd letter or two. 1 He was appointed 
to the Plymouth — Rodney's old ship — from 
which he wrote to Corbett of the Admiralty : — 

" 13th December, 1743. 

" Sir, I have received your letter of 10th instant 
signifying that their Lordships have ordered 
me as much powder and as great an addition 
of stores proper for a West Indian voyage as 
can be taken on board which I beg you'll 
acquaint their Lordships I will be carefull to 
demand and am 

"Your most obedient humble servant, 

"Chas. Saunders." 

This letter is docketed " Let him know he 
may take in now no more of the one or the 
other than the proper proportion for the voyage 

1 Captains' Letters. Admiralty In Letters, 2459, P.R.O. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

he is ordered which is to the West Indies." 
Three days later Saunders was busy getting 
the Plymouth ready for sea, but he was not to 
go to the West Indies after all. On the 27th 
December he wrote to Corbett : — 

" Sir, I have your letter of the 22nd instant 
signifying their Lordships' direction that of 
that kind of provisions on board the Plymouth 
which is above the proportion of six months 
should be spent on till they are reduced to that 
proportion and as I have now command of the 
Saphire have given a copy of it to the 
commanding officer on board the Plymouth. 

"I am, etc." 

It was in February, 1744, according to all 
history, that Sir John Norris, assisted by a 
storm, scattered the French fleet which was 
despatched to invade England. February, 
" 1744," I take it, was February, 1743, in the 
Calendar of the time. 1 Saunders, in the Sapphire, 
was certainly with Norris, but we have no 
account from him of the affair. The only 

1 The change of Calendar in 1752, effected by Lord 
Chesterfield's Act of 1751, often makes confusion worse con- 
founded in dates. Letters dated March, 1743, are taken by 
the unwary before the letters of December, 1743. According 
to the old reckoning, March 24th, 1743, was the end of the 
year, December being the 9th month. Failure to remember 
this, as I have reason to believe some have, would transfer 
to the historian the " divers inconveniences " which the 
Act of 1751 was intended to remove for the general public. 


Saunders with Norris 

letters which I have been able to unearth show 
that in March he, in company with the Dover , 
was looking after the transports which carried 
" the Recruits to Flanders.' ' In April he was 
cruising off the Flemish coast on the look-out 
for the French. His log of the Sapphire opens 
on the 26th December, 1743, and covers thir- 
teen and a half months. On Saturday the 7th 
April, 1744, he makes his first reference to the 
war. The Sapphire was then moored in Ostend 
Roads : — 

" At 2 p.m. sent a boat on board a Galliot Hoy 
in Ostend Road by which I understand she 
came from Dantzick bound for Dunkirk with 
recruits for the service of the French King, 
at 8 manned and armed a boat from Ostend and 
our Barge, Yawl and Cutter and sent them to 
take the vessel, at 12 the boats returned and 
brought on board 138 prisoners and sent the 
remaining part on board the Dover, left the 
1st Lieutenant, a mate and six men on board 
the prize. A. M. came on board General 
Pultney, got up yards and topmasts, got on 
board from the Prize 60 arms, read his Majesty's 
declaration of War against the French King." 

They left next day for England, and after 
sighting the South Foreland, moored in the 
Downs where they spent the next three weeks. 
Then came an active spell with other Captains 
chasing suspicious craft, and with Sir John 


5— (2218) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

Balchen, Saunders moved down Channel to 
take a huge convoy in charge. On the 31st 
August the Sapphire was off the Portuguese 
coast. There they received intelligence that 
the French fleet was in the neighbourhood of 
" the Rock of Lisbon/ ' Saunders parted com- 
pany with Balchen, moored in Gibraltar Bay, 
15th September, and was not back in the 
English Channel till the 30th December, 1744. 
His movements were no doubt full of the 
excitements inseparable from the time, but 
the log of the Sapphire affords little enlighten- 
ment. Among its most suggestive entries are 
such items as " Tuesday, 17th July, surveyed, 
condemned, and hove overboard cheese, 1,489 
pounds " — a touch which by its very simplicity 
tells its story. 

In March, 1745, Saunders was promoted to 
the Sandwich which carried ninety guns. From 
the Sandwich he was apparently transferred to 
the Yarmouth of sixty-four guns, and in com- 
mand of her he went out with Rear-admiral 
Edward Hawke from Plymouth on the 9th 
August, 1747, to intercept the great convoy 
for the West Indies which the French had 
collected in the Basque Roads. The fight off 
Cape Finisterre two months later was one of 
Hawke* s notable victories — one that showed 
the extraordinary tenacity and resource of the 


Out with Hawke 

man. The French fleet, under Desherbiers de 
l'Etenduere, was, it is true, the weaker by some 
five ships and 200 guns, but l'Etenduere was 
a masterly tactician and a doughty fighter. 
He was to windward, and Hawke had 
some difficulty in getting at him, but by order- 
ing a general chase and crowding on every inch 
of canvas his boats could carry, he closed and 
came near to accounting for the whole of the 
French squadron. The fight lasted eight hours, 
and with one exception every Captain under 
Hawke — Rodney, Saunders, Harland, and others 
— distinguished himself that day. Saunders has 
been described as the hero of the occasion 1 — 
a little unjustly, seeing what Hawke himself 
did in the teeth of innumerable difficulties and 
with the responsibility of command on his 
shoulders. Saunders is, perhaps, entitled to 
credit next to his chief. Two of the Frenchmen, 
the Neptune and the Monarque, of seventy-four 
guns each, lowered their colours to him. 
L'Etenduere, in his own badly-mauled ship, 
the Tonnant, having shaken himself free of 
Hawke, endeavoured in company with the 
Intrlpide to escape. His intention " was per- 
ceived by the Yarmouth, Nottingham, and Eagle, 
which, at the instance of Captain Saunders of 
the Yarmouth, and on their own responsibility 

1 Wood. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

followed." 1 Saunders, heavily handicapped by 
his killed and wounded/ made splendid efforts, 
and with a little luck might have effected a 
great capture. In more than one naval chronicle 
of authority 2 we find a protest that Hawke 
in his official despatch did not make special 
acknowledgment of Saunders* services. The 
protest, written by one of the Yarmouth's 
officers, is sufficiently interesting to reproduce : — 

" Though the Yarmouth , without dispute, had 
as great a share as any single ship in the fleet, 
if not a greater, in the engagement with the 
French, October 14th, yet in all the accounts 
I have seen she is not so much as mentioned, as 
though no ship had been there. It is somewhat 
surprising that Admiral Hawke should see and 
notice in his long account the behaviour of the 
Lion, Louisa, Tilbury, and Eagle, and yet could 
discover nothing of the extraordinary courage 
and conduct of Captain Saunders of the Yar- 
mouth, who lay two hours and a half close 
engaged with the Neptune, a 70-gun ship with 
700 men, which he never quitted till she struck, 
although the Monarch, a 70-gun ship, which 
struck to us likewise, lay upon our bow for some 
time, and another of the enemy's ships upon our 
stern. When the Neptune struck, after killing 
their one hundred men and wounding one 

1 Clowes, Royal Navy, Vol. iii. 

1 Campbell, Naval History of Great Britain, Vol. v ; 
Charnock, Biographia Navalic, Vol. v. 


A Protest 

hundred and forty, we were so close to her that 
our men jumped into her, and notwithstanding 
such long and warm work, the ship, much dis- 
abled in masts and rigging and 22 men killed and 
70 wounded, his courage did not cool here. He 
could not with patience see the French admiral 
and the Intrepide, a 74-gun ship, get away and 
none of our ships after them, nor could he think 
of preferring his own security to the glory and 
interest of his country, but ardently wished to 
pursue them ; he proposed it, therefore, to 
Captain Saumarez in the Nottingham, and 
Captain Rodney in the Eagle, who were within 
hail of us ; but Captain Saumarez, being 
unfortunately killed by the first fire of the 
enemy, the Nottingham hauled the wind, and 
did no more service, and the Eagle never got 
near enough to do any ; so that the Yarmouth 
had to deal with both of the enemy's ships for 
some time till at length they got out of the reach 
of our guns. I think so much bravery and 
spirit ought not to lie in oblivion." 

This direct challenge of Hawke's account of 
the battle — an account, by the way, in which 
he said that so far as fell within his notice 
the commanders, officers, and companies of 
every ship except one " behaved with the 
greatest spirit and resolution in every respect 
like Englishmen " — seems not only to exalt 
Saunders, but to reflect on Hawke's sense of 
justice. Hawke was capable of such prodigies 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

of valour himself that he would probably not 
look upon the magnificent efforts of men like 
Saunders and several other of his captains as 
calling for more than a general recognition 
that they did their best to second him. What 
seemed exceptional heroism to the ordinary 
man would, in Hawke's eye, be the fighting 
man's business. Keppel wrote to Anson con- 
gratulating him on Hawke's victory and the 
general " noble behaviour " of those of his 
friends who had been with Anson on his world 
voyage. By all the accounts, he said, no one 
outdid Saunders. " The Yarmouth lay by one 
of their very large ships, was laid on the careen 
for some minutes, and what is more surprising, 
she had a gun dismounted, which fell down 
the powder scuttle and stopped their com- 
munication to it, so that for a long time they 
were useless in a manner." 1 Saunders himself 
was not inclined to exaggerate the part he 
played, and we may better understand what 
happened if we turn to the Yarmouth's log, 
the entry in which I transcribe exactly as he 
set it down. 2 It is dated " Thurs., Oct. 15, 
1747 : Cape Finister " :— 

" Mod 1 "- and Close W r at 10 minutes P.M. we 
began to engage the enemy at J past noon 

1 Life of Keppel. 

2 Captains' Logs, 1089, P.R.O. 


The Yarmouttis Log 

Adm 1 - Hawke in ye Devonshire Rainging up 
on our Lee Quarter and began to fire at y e ship 
we were engaged with which was y e Severn on 
which we shot ahead and engaged ye Neptune 
ye Devonshire getting ahead of y e ship she was 
engaged with endeavouring to rake her. Brought 
ye ship in ye wind which obliged them to tack 
and the French ship struck her colours to the 
Devonshire who wore round and made sail up 
to the enemy about 2 o'clock y e Eagle Capt n - 
Rodney coming up astern Raked a French ship 
on our Weather Quarter and falling astern fell 
on board the Devonshire which obliged her to 
bear up to clear herself from ye Eagle in this 
time y e Neptune's sails and rigging were much 
shatter' d obliged her to fall astern then we shot 
up with another of y e enemies ships who was 
engaging us on our Weather Bow where we lay 
close engaging her in y e meantime y e Neptune 
made sail and came up with us and engaged us 
again we still having our main and mizon Tops ls 
aback we shott away her mizon mast and 
Disabled her in such a manner as she lay 
muzzled at \ past 3 struck her colours and hailed 
us to send our boat on board her which we did 
and an officer and Discharged our broadside 
at a ship that was Playing at us ahead of the 
Neptune who in a little time struck her colours 
at about a quarter of an hour after ye Neptune's 
main and foremast and Bowsprit came by y e 
board and after these ships had struck we made 
ye best of our way we could to the assistance of 
Adm 1 - Hawke who we perceived to be warmly 
engaged who had made ye sign 1 - for our ships 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

to come to a close engagement but we at this 
time making but little way through the water 
occasioned by our masts, sails, and rigging being 
much shatter' d stood after two ships of ye 
enemies who were going off before the wind 
one of which was the French adm 1 - ye Nottingham 
at this time came up under our stern and the 
Eagle bearing away steering for the enemy at 
Dusk ye Nottingham, Eagle and we coming up 
with y e enemy began to engage again who kept 
edging away but we soon Left of the night closing 
upon us we Lost sight of them. Our masts and 
rigging shott all to pieces/ ' 

As a mere statement of fact, Saunders* log 
is valuable ; after every allowance has been 
made for the captain's modesty in the matter, 
the entry serves to qualify the mere estimates 
of the hero- worshipper. Saunders was one of 
the heroes, not the hero, of the occasion, how- 
ever great the individual credit due to him. 
" The enemy escaped, it is true/' says Mahan, 1 
speaking of the Yarmouth affair, " but that 
does not impeach the judgment nor lessen the 
merits of the officers concerned, for their ships 
were both much smaller and more injured than 
those they attacked." 

With the conclusion of the war in 1748 
Saunders seems to have turned his attention 
seriously to politics. He had already stood 

1 Types of Naval Officers. 


Fleet Marriages 

for the Heydon division of Yorkshire and been 
beaten. Timothy Brett, writing to Captain 
Philip Saumarez on the 12th August, 1747, 
says : "I supped with Keppel and Saunders 
last night . . . Saunders lost the election at 
Heydon by two, but I believe he petitions." * 
The petition we may take it was unsuccessful, 
as Captain Saunders was elected for Plymouth 
in 1750. On the 25th September, 1751, he is 
reported to have married the daughter of James 
Buck the London banker. We get a rare glimpse 
of him as a member of Parliament in 1753, 
when Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Bill was 
before the House. What were known as Fleet 
marriages had become a scandal of almost 
incredible proportions. These Fleet unions 
necessarily were generally clandestine. In most 
cases they were the outcome of some sort of 
treachery or trickery ; they were a fertile source 
of misery to respectable families one of whose 
members in a moment of freak, or caught in some 
carefully-laid trap, went through the farce of 
solemnising a marriage. To certain disreput- 
able creatures who posed as clergymen they 
brought fine incomes. Taverns and brandy- 
shops, says Lecky, had Fleet parsons in their pay ; 
lads fresh from college, sailors just paid off, any- 
body who was in funds was marked down by 

1 Life of Keppel. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

the wily allies of the tap-room. " When a fleet 
came in and the sailors flocked on shore to 
spend their pay in drink and among prostitutes, 
they were speedily beleaguered, and 200 or 300 
marriages constantly took place within a week. 1 
Lord Hardwicke's Act made marriage in Eng- 
land valid only when performed either by a 
clergyman in orders, according to the Anglican 
liturgy, the banns having been published on 
three successive Sundays, or by special licence 
under strictly-defined conditions. The measure 
was received with a violent storm of abuse ; 
its opponents declared that it would lead to 
a great increase in immorality and illegitimacy, 
and it was denounced as an Act pandering to 
pride and the aristocracy, some of whose scions 
had been victimized. The opposition was led 
by Charles Townshend and Fox, and their 
resounding rhetoric seems to have convinced 
the member for Plymouth that Hardwicke's 
proposals would inflict a grievous wrong on 
the men whose interests were his first care. 
He intended, he said, to vote against the bill 
" for the sake of the sailors, having once given 
forty of his crew leave to go on shore for an 
hour and all returned married." Lord Hard- 
wicke could hardly have wished for more 
conclusive testimony in his favour. If logic did 

1 Lecky, England in the Eighteenth Century, Vol. ii. 


On Board the "Prince" 

not show Saunders that he was in error, other 
influences were at work which induced him to 
abandon opposition to the measure. Anson 
was his patron : and Anson was at the Admir- 
alty : Hardwicke was Anson's son-in-law, and 
when the division was taken, Saunders* vote was 
given with the ayes. 1 It is a neat illustration 
of the parliamentary conditions leavening con- 
viction whether the dominant factor be party 
or personal interest. Perhaps it was in return 
for this little act of loyalty to his old Com- 
modore, now his official chief, that in the 
following year Saunders, through Anson's in- 
fluence, was elected to represent Hey don. 
In 1754, also, he was made Treasurer of 
Greenwich Hospital — a position he held for 
twelve years. In 1755 he was appointed Comp- 
troller of the Navy, was elected an Elder 
Brother of Trinity House, and given command 
of the recently-launched 90-gun ship Prince. 

There were great festivities that year at 
Spithead on the anniversary of George IPs 
accession. The fleet assembled in force, and 
Wolfe, among others, took a run to Ports- 
mouth " to enjoy the dreadful though pleasing 
sight of our mighty Navy." Did he by any 
chance, one wonders, meet Saunders, the 
Prince's proud commander, who, a year or 

1 Yorke, Life of Lord Hardwicke, Vol. ii. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

two later, was to be his colleague in the St. 
Lawrence ? Anson went down to inspect the 
fleet, and " a splendid entertainment " was 
given on the Prince to the Duke of Cumber- 
land, the nobility and gentry and their wives 
and daughters. Saunders had his ship spick 
and span for the occasion, and Lady Anson 
wrote enthusiastically to the Marchioness 
Grey : — x 

"The whole passed d merveille ; the admiration 
high (and we have the vanity to think just). 
Our guest had seen ships before, indeed, but 
never till now saw a fleet ; the condition of the 
ships — the discipline, men, officers, all so totally 
different, so military, &c, and, above all things, 
astonished at the quietness (a circumstance 
I have a notion to have heard was very different 
when we were on board Sir John N orris's ship) 
at the time of the dinner on board the Prince, 
where there must have been about twelve 
hundred people. No private house, the best 
ordered, could have been quieter/ ' 

War was being carried on unofficially be- 
tween the French and English beyond the 
seas in 1755, and the question was how long 
would be the interval before the two countries 
were again at grips in Europe. Every one in 
England talked and thought of invasion ; was 

1 Barrow, Life of Anson. 

6 4 

A Cargo of Courage 

the Navy equal to the task of prevention ? 
Pitt was not yet in a position to take the 
Imperial reins, and the national tension deepened 
from month to month. France was busy in- 
triguing and preparing her fleets, and in the 
spring of 1756, before war had been formally 
declared, Byng was sent on his abortive mission 
to relieve Minorca. When news of the failure 
reached England, Hawke was at once despatched 
with Saunders as his second, to supersede the 
incompetent, brave, and unfortunate Byng. 
" Looking for a man to be Hawke' s second 
and to supersede Temple West, Anson pitched 
on Captain Charles Saunders. Of all the brilliant 
band who had accompanied him in the Cen- 
turion . . . Saunders was the man of whom 
he had the highest opinion, and well was he to 
prove the justice of his old chief's judgment." 1 
The frigate in which they sailed was said 
to carry a cargo of courage, but the worst had 
happened long before they reached Gibraltar 
on the 3rd July. Hawke and Saunders — who 
had been made Rear-Admiral of the Blue — 
could do nothing more than infuse new spirit 
into British movements, and, incidentally, des- 
troy whatever prestige came to the French 
from Byng's discomfiture. At the end of 1756 

1 Corbett, England in the Seven Years' War, Vol. i. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Saunders was left in charge in the Mediter- 
ranean. Writing 1 from the Prince, Gibraltar, 
the 28th November, he officially acknow- 
ledged receipt of orders to take command of 
the thirteen ships left by Hawke. " As small 
vessels are absolutely necessary for protecting 
the trade and taking or destroying the small 
French privateers I will purchase them as soon 
as possible." He would endeavour to take or 
destroy any of these privateers, which could be 
found along the Mediterranean coasts. On the 
9th December (he was then on the Culloden), 
he gave a list of the ships at his disposal, 
" which is two-sixth rates less than your lord- 
ships ordered and are now more wanted than 
any other, there being small French privateer 
row-boats lying along the coast of Spain wher- 
ever there is a gun mounted, and I am sorry 
to say meet with great encouragement and 
unjustifiable protection from all the Gover- 
nors." He sent his first lieutenant to Cadiz to 
purchase " a good Xebeck " which would be 
useful for protecting trade — a purchase their 
lordships of the Admiralty approved and decided 
to call " The Mediterranean Xebeck." They 
particularly recommended to him the care of 
the trade about Genoa and Leghorn, " where 
the privateers of the enemy cruise in great 

1 Admiralty In Letters, 384. 


Saunders In Command 

plenty." A little difficulty occurred over the 
command of the Xebeck. Their lordships 
appointed Captain Elliot, and he was to leave 
by the next ship from England, but before 
Saunders received their letter he had given the 
post to a captain from his squadron. He ex- 
pressed his astonishment at the appointment 
of Captain Elliot " as it has been always cus- 
tomary when small vessels have been pur- 
chased abroad for the commanding officer to 
appoint the officers to them. I should hope 
their lordships would not in particular, just at 
this time, throw such a slight on me as not to 
confirm these I have made." He was so much 
concerned that he offered to get another Xebeck 
if possible " which is much wanted, but there 
are no three or four pounders nor swivel-guns 
here for them, which is the heaviest metal they 
can carry ; the swivels the Xebeck has I have 
supplied from my own ship." 

All the answer Saunders got was that with 
regard to sending Captain Elliot to command 
the Xebeck it was " not particular to him, 
the then Lords having done that same both 
at Jamaica and the Leeward Islands." Be- 
tween the 25th January and the 20th March, 
1757, Saunders' ships took a variety of prizes 
laden with various kinds of merchandise from 
wines to soap. The following shows his efforts 

6 7 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

to deal with French movements down to the 
10th April :— 

"Sir, the 3rdinst. after I sent away to you my 
letter of that day's date I received intelligence 
from Mr. Francis Aiskell, Consul at Malaga, that 
four French men-of-war of 74-guns were at 
anchor off Sorre Molinos, the westernmost Cape 
of Malaga on which I sailed that night with the 
Culloden, Berwick, Princess Louisa, Guernsey 
and Portland in quest of them, and on the 6th, 
about 2 in the afternoon, five Leagues to the 
eastward of Gibraltar, the wind being then at 
East, we saw them coming down right before it, 
on which we sometimes lay too, and at other 
times, stood athwart them under our topsails. 
A little before 7 they brought too to windward 
and abreast of us j we brought too also and soon 
after I made the signal to Engage ; at 7 they 
began to fire at near 3 miles distance ; our ships 
fired a few guns but finding almost all the 
enemy's shot fall short, we left off in hopes of 
gaining the wind enough to bring them to a 
close engagement, they continued their fire till 
near 8 ; sometime after that we perceived them 
to forereach on us, upon which I made the 
signal to make sail and about nine finding them 
edging away for the Gut, I made the signal to 
chase, which we did, and I had the misfortune 
to find their worst ships going outsail our best, 
we chased till daylight when we saw none of 
them, and was five Leagues to the westward of 
Cape Spartel. Indeed I never saw them after 
one in the morning. I am the most miserable 


A Stern Chase 

man in the world in acquainting their Lordships 
of this and the more so as I am afraid these 
ships are gone to America, where they may do 
much mischief, but I have done everything in 
my power to prevent it. While the French 
were coming down to me I received a letter 
from Mr. Colby acquainting me he had received 
intelligence that there were four more French 
men-of-war to the Eastward of Malaga ; if that 
be true and they were bound through the Gut, 
they must before this have passed me, as it 
began to blow very hard soon after we gave 
chace, and has continued to do so ever since, 
or I should have sent this for their lordships' 
information as soon as I left off. I lost the 
Portland and the Polecare the night of the chace, 
so am obliged to send the Guernsey with this. 
Captain Braithwaite in the Polcare joined me 
after I sailed from Gibraltar who I sent to 
Malaga to see if the French were there ; He 
came down to me ahead of them and having no 
other small vessel, I hired a Spanish Row boat 
which I employed to watch the enemies motions. 
As it was duskish before they brought too, I can't 
give their Lordships a particular account of their 
force, but believe they were not all 74-gun ships 
as two of them appeared smaller than the others. 
" I shall return again to Gibraltar. Now Cape 
Spartel bears of me N.E.b.E. Distance Twenty 
Leagues. I am, Sir, 

"Your most obedient humble servant, 

" Culloden. "CHAS. SAUNDERS. 

"10/A April, 1757. 
"John Clevland, Esq." 


6— <mi8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

The French squadron which thus escaped 
Saunders was under M. du Revest bound for 
Louisbourg. " Saunders* ships were too foul 
to deal with the Frenchmen fresh out of dock." 1 
Saunders' letter was received on the 30th April, 
and on the 2nd May Clevland endorsed it with 
instructions : — 

" Let Admiral Saunders know I have com- 
municated his letter to their Lordships who are 
sorry his endeavours to engage the French were 
attended with no better success." 

On the 16th April, being then " off Europa 
Point," Saunders wrote : — 

" Please to acquaint my Lords Commissioners 
of the Admiralty that I arrived here the 12th 
inst., when I found the intelligence I had re- 
ceived from Mr. Colby of four other French 
men-of-war besides those I chaced being to the 
eastward of Malaga was quite without founda- 
tion. I have received a letter from Mr. Holford, 
Consul at Genoa, dated the 19th March, acquaint- 
ing me that Captain Collingwood in the Syren 
had sailed from that place to the Eastward, 
and that eighteen ships of the line besides 
frigates would be ready to put to sea from Tou- 
lon in this month, which they are going to 
employ in carying 1,200 men to reinforce the 
garrison at Minorca and two battalions to 
reinforce those troops already at Corsica and 

1 Corbett, England in the Seven Years' War, Vol. i. 


A Distracting Quest 

to cruise to intercept our trade from Leghorn 
and the Levant ; our ships up there must hear 
of the enemies' motions much sooner than I can, 
so that if the French are out, I hope they won't 
venture to come away with the Trade. The 
Hampton Court is in the Mole and the Xebeck is 
come in with the loss of her foremast ; the other 
ships here are ready for sea, and if the French 
attempt to send any more ships through the 
Gut, I shall do my utmost to prevent them. 

" Enclosed I send you a duplicate of a letter 
to you of the 3rd instant which I sent to Sir 
Benjamin Keen, and of another I sent by 
Captain Milbanke in the Guernsey of the 10th 
as likewise how those ships are employed that 
are from me. Since I wrote the above the 
Chesterfield and Fortune sloop arrived here, 
whose captains have this morning acquainted 
me that twelve leagues to the Eastward of 
Gibraltar Hill they fell in with four large ships 
which they took to be French men-of-war, on 
which I immediately got under sail, and am now 
in quest of them ; they also fell in with the 
four others I chaced through the Gut, which 
occasioned their return without the Trade." 

The official comment on the foregoing was : 
" Let him know I have communicated his 
letter to their Lordships who approved of his 
proceedings." In a letter of the 23rd April, 
Saunders says he has been in quest of the four 
large ships but has found no trace of the 
enemy. On the 18th he fell in with a Dutch 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

convoy, and he supposed " the four sail Captain 
Ogle saw " were part of it. What a distracting 
" catch-who-catch-can " business it must have 
been ! 

Nor was he able to give undivided attention 
to the French. There were difficulties — no 
novelty in Mediterranean annals — with Bar- 
bary, the doings of whose corsairs form one 
of the most exciting and romantic chapters in 
naval history. The subjects of the Prince of 
Saffee had captured a British galley with 
sailors and Minorcans on board. At the end 
of 1756 and beginning of 1757 Lord Tyrawley, 
the Governor of Gibraltar, and Rear-Admiral 
Saunders were endeavouring to secure the 
release of the captives. A letter was sent to 
the Prince in January to desire " a further 
truce of six months " ; the weather was so bad 
that Captain Ogle in the Chesterfield could not 
get near the shore but had to send the missive 
in a cask " and get off the coast again." To 
this letter the following is a reply. It is 
described as a " Translation from the Arabick 
of a letter from Sidy Mahomet, Prince of Saffee 
(son of the Emperor of Morocco), to Lord 
Tyrawley, Governor of Gibraltar, and Charles 
Saunders, Esq., Rear-Admiral of the Blue, and 
Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's ships 
and vessels in the Mediterranean." It is 


"English Chicanery 

refreshingly frank, and not the less so when 
we remember whence it emanated : — 

" Dated at the Royal Palace of Morocco, 

" 24th Feb., 1757. 

" Your letter by the man-of-war came to my 
hands. I have had it read and understand 
the contents. I must tell you that I have 
observed of all the nations in Europe the 
English alone spin out their Negotiations and 
Treaties without ever coming to a final con- 
clusion and always find a back door for Delays 
and Chicanery. However, since you desire me 
to prolong the Truce which I made with your 
Ambassador, which will expire the first of next 
March, I grant you four months, I say a pro- 
longation of four months which will expire 
the last day of June. This time is more than 
sufficient to write and have an answer from 
places at a greater distance than England, and 
I grant you this new Truce to the end that you 
may not have anything more to say in your own 
excuse, nor anything to blame me for. During 
this truce the subjects of England their persons 
and effects, shall be in perfect security in my 
dominions, under our Royal protection and 
Imperial good faith — that is to say, as far as 
concerns my ships, frigates and gallies that shall 
sail out of Saffee for which I am answerable 
for all damages they may occasion even to the 
value of a blanqiul [sic], but for what relates 
to Tetuan and its coasts, in case their gallies 
shall take any of your ships or make slaves of 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

the people in case any of your ships should be 
driven on that coast by bad weather, or that 
they should insult or ill treat your merchants 
and confiscate their goods, for such violence I 
declare myself not responsible and I desire 
you to take good care of yourselves. Be- 
ware, beware, and again beware, for Tetuan 
is not absolutely under our subjection, and I 
pronounce the truth to you that you may know 
upon what footing you are, I say I am answer- 
able only for my own ships, gallists and galleys 
that shall sail from Sallee, and not for those 
from other parts. 

" As to the English, your Brethren who remain 
here belonging to the ship Ann galley, they are 
free to embark and go where they please and 
always have been at full liberty." 

The letters of Saunders which have been 
preserved 1 enable us roughly to understand 
the situation. When it had been agreed that 
the English sailors should be redeemed on 
certain terms, the Alcaid of Tetuan insisted 
that before they were given up, the four Minor- 
cans should be redeemed at the same time and 
price which, writes Saunders, " I hear is about 
one hundred and thirty pounds a man. The 
Prince has four vessels at Saff ee ready for sea ; 
however, he has published the truce with us 
to all his subjects, saying in the publication 

1 Admiralty In Letters, 384. 


The Ransom 

he makes, no doubt, but before the time is 
expired he shall have somebody from England 
to treat with him." Tyrawley and Saunders 
were not big enough to conduct negotiations 
with this mighty Potentate ! The sequel may 
be found in the Rear-Admiral's letter of the 
10th May to the Admiralty : — 

"In my letter to you of the 25th March, I 
acquainted you for their Lordships' information 
that six Englishmen who were slaves in Barbary 
and who Captain Parker when he came up here 
to renew the Treaty with the Prince of Saffee, 
agreed to redeem, upon which they were sent to 
Tetuan, but the prince finding afterwards he 
had four Minorceens, he sent them there likewise 
and insisted they should be redeemed with the 
rest, which on Captain Parker's refusing he 
kept them all ; these poor men being ordered 
a few days ago to be sent up from that place to 
Morocco and the likelihood there was of not 
redeeming them, being the occasion of stopping 
the communication between Barbary and this 
place, Lord Tyrawley and myself thought it 
most advisable to pay the money which we did 
and I have them now on board. The money 
came to £1,741 13s. 4d., for which we drew a 
Bill dated the 7th of May on the Lords of the 
Treasury at 30 days' sight, payable to Mr. 
James Read or order ; the three men I men- 
tioned in the same letter being at Sallee I have 
got from thence." 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Clevland's comment : — 

" Let him know I have communicated his letter 
to their Lordships who approve of his proceed- 
ings and do not question but the Lords of the 
Treasury will be satisfied with the reasons given 
by Lord Tyrawley and himself for redeeming 
the captives and will pay the bill they have 


The Maritime Chessboard 

The Maritime Chessboard 

Osborne Takes Command — Holding the Straits — The Story 
of the Foudroyant — Osborne's Tribute to Saunders — 
Anson wants Saunders in England. 

O EAR-ADMIRAL Saunders had now been 
in command of the Mediterranean for 
six months. He had done good work with the 
force available, but the auxiliary force which 
men call Luck had not been his. In any case 
the Mediterranean squadron, charged with the 
vastly important duty at once of keeping the 
French from passing the Straits of Gibraltar 
and of protecting British trade, waj not strong 
enough for the numerous calls made on it, 
more particularly as every day at sea added 
to the foulness of the bottoms and increased 
the handicap in favour of the enemy. In the 
spring of 1757 reinforcements were sent out 
under Vice-Admiral Osborne who arrived in 
Gibraltar Bay at the end of May. If Saunders, 
who as we have seen was sensitive, felt any 
sort of regret that he was not to remain in 
control of the operations, we may be sure he 
was too good a disciplinarian to show it. He 
threw himself eagerly into the seconding of 
Osborne's efforts, and for the next twelve 
months they worked like brothers in the always 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

congenial cause of harrying the French, whether 
belligerents or traders, and keeping the com- 
mercial routes open for the subjects of King 
George. They provided their captains with 
opportunities for individual distinction of which 
the fullest advantage was taken, and kept 
"the coast of Provence in a state of chronic 
alarm which seriously hampered the progress 
of naval work at Toulon/ ' says Mr. Corbett. 
Procrastination at home, chequered by the 
jealousies of politicians, the prejudices of the 
King, and the supineness of those with and 
under whom Pitt was compelled for the moment 
to work, did not make the task of the sailor 
easier. Saunders and Tyrawley, for instance, 
saved the Barbary captives fiom slavery : they 
could not dispose of the political problem. 
Soon after his arrival Osborne reported that 
he found " our national affairs in Barbary in 
a bad situation occasioned by the displeasure 
of Prince Benabdala that no consul is yet 
arrived in his Dominions, nor the usual present 
made to the Emperor/ ' The four months' 
truce would expire at the end of the month, 
and the Governor of Gibraltar and the Admiral 
thought it proper to send Prince Benabdala 
presents that were at Gibraltar, with apologies 
for "Mr. Whatley's delay." Whatley was 
appointed a year previously, " and ought to 


The Displeasure of Prince Benabdala 

have been here by the first of last March. 
Nobody at this place knows where he is, but 
many conclude he has no intention to come 
at all." The presents were to be delivered by 
the Vice-Consul at Tetuan, but " the Prince of 
Saphi " was not in a mood to take anything 
from anybody except a properly-accredited, 
full-blown Consul. He therefore rejected the 
presents and threatened to " shut up all his 
ports to England in sixteen days." Imagine 
the energies of men whose duty it was to safe- 
guard the interests of the Empire from the 
attacks of the greatest power on the Continent 
being frittered away by concern for the amour 
propre of a petty Prince in North Africa. 

Intelligence of three French ships of the line 
and four frigates having " gone into the channel 
of Malta " reached Osborne in July, and he 
11 judged it proper to order Rear-Admiral 
Saunders to proceed and cruize " with five 
ships off the south end of Sardinia " to prevent 
the ships from Malta passing that way, watering 
his squadron at Cagliani as he should see neces- 
sary having regard that some of them might 
be continually at sea " ; Osborne himself " pro- 
ceeded with the rest of the ships to Leghorn, 
and, after watering them and refreshing the 
sick," of which there were upwards of 160 on 
board the Prince alone, he intended to 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

" proceed down the east side of Corsica and Sar- 
dinia to rejoin Rear-Admiral Saunders. This 
disposition I hope will prevent the enemy from 
joining, distress their trade, and protect our 
own, as seems best for the common good." 
He reported on the 29th July that " The enemy 
are in the greatest consternation at our sudden 
arrival on their coast, as they have divided the 
Toulon fleet, they have no hopes of getting 
either them together again or getting home 
their Levant trade and cannon which now lay 
at Malta ready for convoy till we are obliged 
to go to Gibraltar." 

The chief event was to come in November 
when De la Clue left Toulon with five or six 
sail of the line in the hope of being able to 
repeat the success of Du Revest which had 
made Saunders " the most miserable man 
in the world." De la Clue found the Straits 
effectually blocked and took refuge in the port 
of Carthagena where he remained, carefully 
watched and not daring to leave, throughout 
the winter. In February, 1758, he put out in 
the belief that reinforcements were coming, but 
not meeting them and fearing to have the 
whole of Osborne's squadron on his hands, 1 
returned. Three weeks later reinforcements 
were on their way under the redoubtable 

1 Hannay, A Short History of the Royal Navy. 


De La Clue and Duquesne 

Duquesne, with the Foudroyant (80), the Orphee 
(64), and Oriflamme (50). Duquesne was the 
Governor of Canada after whom Fort Duquesne 
— now Pittsburg — was named : England had 
more than one grudge against Duquesne to 
wipe off the Imperial slate, but his record 
was as nothing beside that of the Foudroyant, 
Galissoniere's flagship in the fight off Port 
Mahon from which Byng retired two years 
previously to the shame of the British nation 
and his own deplorable end. The very word 
Foudroyant stirred memories of triumph in 
French minds and of disgrace in English. 
When Duquesne arrived off Carthagena one of 
those absurd things happened which, however 
absurd in themselves, may add pages to his- 
tory. Duquesne and De la Clue had a little 
difference. Duquesne thought De la Clue should 
come out : De la Clue thought Duquesne should 
come in. The personal breeze was disposed of 
by a breeze of another sort. A " bit of a gale," 
says Mr. Corbett, sprang up and blew Duquesne 
right into the arms of Osborne and Saunders. 
Whilst Osborne held up De la Clue, he ordered 
pursuit of the three vessels which Duquesne 
had scattered in the effort to ensure their 
escape. Among the ships engaged in the chase 
was the little Monmouth (64), which by a 
dramatic coincidence was commanded by Arthur 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Gardiner, Byng's flag-captain. The Orphee was 
taken by Captain Storr of the Revenge ; * the 
Oriflamme was driven ashore, but got off and 
ultimately joined De la Clue in Carthagena ; 2 
the Foudroyant was pursued and tackled single- 
handed by the Monmouth. The ignominy of 
the last occasion on which he had set eyes on 
the monster had burned into Gardiner's very 
brain. What chance had the Monmouth against 
the Foudroyant ? To put the one against the 
other was like pitting a terrier against a bull- 
dog. Gardiner recked nothing of the disparity. 
The Monmouth was a fine sailer, and as though 
to assist the dramatic denouement, was the 
only British vessel able to overtake the Fou- 
droyant. Throughout that 28th Febiuary the 
desperate running fight was maintained. 
" Whatever becomes of you and me," Gardiner 
is reported to have said, 3 " this ship must go 
to Gibraltar/ ' Alone, separated by leagues 
from her fellows and possibility of help, 
Duquesne thought he had only to turn and 
rend the Monmouth which he could not throw 
off. At seven in the evening the actual fight 
between the David and the Goliath of the sea 
began : it was continued till midnight. An 

1 Corbett, Vol. 
a Hannay. 
s Charnock. 

8 4 

Monmouth v. Foudroyant 

unlucky shot found its billet in the gallant 
Gardiner, but the spirit in him was in his 
officers and crew. With his last breath he 
charged his first lieutenant, Robert Caskett, to 
cling on, and both ships were completely spent 
when at last assistance came and the proud 
Duquesne hauled down the Foudroyant's flag. 
"That such a man should surrender such a 
vessel to a force so inferior, that Galissoniere's 
flagship should fall to Byng's flag-captain, 
struck Paris cold as it fired the hopes of 
London." 1 

Saunders' service in the Mediterranean for 
the time being was drawing to a close. It 
looked at one moment towards the end of March 
as though he might be called upon suddenly 
again to take over the command. Osborne 
was ill and was " obliged to leave the command 
of the squadron to Rear-Admiral Saunders to 
cruize in the Streight's mouth during the con- 
tinuance of the easterly wind," whilst he went 
ashore to recruit. He asked permission in case 
he did not speedily recover to hand the reins 
to Saunders : " It has been no small consola- 
tion to me on this occasion that I have one of 
Mr. Saunders* character, conduct, and experi- 
ence to leave this essential service to, as I am 
well convinced His Majesty's service cannot 

1 Corbett, Vol. i. 


7— (2218) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

suffer when under his execution." 1 Osborne 
got better, and Saunders for a month cruised 
to the " eastward of Gibraltar Hill," but though 
the wind might have favoured them the enemy 
did not appear. De la Clue got away from 
Carthagena during April, returned to Toulon, 
and dismantled. 2 Osborne wrote : " I flatter 
myself that the having kept that squadron 
eight months from passing the Streights and 
their being obliged to return at last will have 
as essentially answered His Majesty's service 
in every part as it will have contributed to the 
glory of his arms." 

Pitt's plans were now maturing and Saunders 
was wanted at home. Osborne parted with 
him reluctantly. He writes under date the 
28th May : " It is not without great regret 
that I deprive myself of the assistance of an 
officer of his great merit, zeal, and address." 
Saunders left Gibraltar on the 29th in the 
Montague, with the Greyhound and Revenge, 
the two prizes, Foudroyant and Orphee, and 
" all the trade that were at that place." He 
brought with him as his prisoner Duquesne. 
Reaching Spithead on the 5th July, he notified 
Clevland by express that if their Lordships had 
" no immediate service " for him, he would be 

1 Admiralty In Letters, 384. 
• Ibid. 


Anson s Confidence 

glad of leave " to come to town." Permission 
came promptly, together with congratulations 
on his safe arrival. But after a few hours 
ashore Saunders was not at all sure whether 
he ought to leave. Anson had written to 
Hardwicke 1 in June: "I think and hope 
Admiral Saunders will soon be in England in 
whom I could confide for keeping the fleet in 
such discipline that I should have a pleasure 
in going aboard it whenever there is a necessity." 
Saunders found an expedition preparing, and 
" Lord Anson is in the bay without a flag- 
officer with him." Therefore he at once 
intimated that his request might not be season- 
able : " nor do I desire it if their Lordships 
have any service for me, all I want is to be 
ashore a few days to stop the progress of the 
scurvy." Anson's need of such assistance as 
Saunders could render was great. The disci- 
pline of the navy was poor, and the officers 
were often ignorant of elementary tactics, not- 
withstanding that Hawke had so recently been 
in command. This state of things not merely 
hampered the efforts of Anson and Pitt to 
create a diversion in Frederick's favour by 
naval demonstrations along the French coast, 
but was peculiarly distressing to a man like 
Anson. " Many of the best men in the Navy 

1 Yorke, Life of Hardwicke, Vol. iii 

8 7 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

during the Seven Years' War had learnt their 
first lessons and gained invaluable experience 
during their service " * with him on his voyage 
round the world, and that he had the greatest 
faith in all of them his correspondence and 
patronage proves. 2 His confidence was the 
more striking in that Saunders never had the 
chance of fighting a considerable action. Even 
now in the latter half of '58 the opportunity 
was denied him. He assisted the blockade of 
Brest with Anson and Holmes, Hawke being ill, 
and was left to endeavour to intercept the French 
squadron from Quebec. He did not, however, 
fall in with it, and went back to port without 
having seen more than an odd enemy's ship. 

Saunders belonged to that category well des- 
cribed by Han nay when speaking of Osborne : 
" A good representative of that large body of 
naval officers whose names are associated with 
no single action of great renown but who did 
much and varied service, and who contributed 
to the glory of more fortunate rivals by weary 
cruising and vigilant watch, far away from the 
scene where more brilliant reputations were 
being earned." 3 The Hawkes and the Rodneys 
would be lesser, or greater, men in the eyes of 

1 Clowes, Royal Navy, Vol. iii. 

* Life of Anson, by Captain Anson. 

* Short History of the Royal Navy. 


Return to England 

history if the war chessboard were occupied by 
no such knights as Saunders and Osborne. Mr. 
Corbett says that Saunders returned to Spit- 
head on 22nd October and was summoned to 
town, but could not go at once because of an 
injury to a leg. 1 As a matter of fact he was 
writing to Pitt from the " Shrewsbury off 
Brest " on the 25th October to report that he 
had been joined by Captain Harrison of the 
Venus, who had recaptured an English privateer 
that had been taken by a French frigate. He 
learned from prisoners that ten sail of the line 
were fitting out and that in Brest were a suffi- 
cient number of men to man them. 2 A month 
later he wrote from the " Ramillies at sea " 
that he had sent the Shrewsbury to Plymouth 
for repairs with orders to rejoin him. He was 
endeavouring to spread his net wider ; and 
with a change of the wind, which had been 
more or less easterly, he promised to send a 
ship to look into Brest as soon as possible. 3 
It seems improbable that he was at Spithead 
in October, and Mr. Clowes is doubtless right 
in saying that he returned to England in the 
middle of December. 4 

1 England in the Seven Years' War, Vol. i. 

* Chatham Papers, P.R.O., 55. 

• Ibid. 

4 Royal Navy. 

8 9 

The Quebec Expedition and a 


The Quebec Expedition and a 

The Quebec Expedition — Saunders to Command the Fleet — 
Secret Instructions — A Controversy Disposed of — Durell's 
Delay — Saunders' Despatch to Pitt. 

^II^HATEVER the date of Rear-Admiral 
Saunders' arrival in London it is pretty 
certain that there must have been some special 
communication between him and Anson as to 
the immediate future. It was in the middle of 
December, 1758, that Pitt summoned Wolfe 
to town to impart to him the news that it was 
intended to make him commander of the Quebec 
expedition. Pitt and Anson by that time must 
have made up their minds as to who his naval 
colleague should be. Saunders 1 return to port 
practically at the same moment that Wolfe 
was on his way from Bath, seems something 
more than coincidence. If Pitt knew what he 
was about when he selected Wolfe for the 
Quebec command, Anson was even more sure, 
having larger experience of his man, in recom- 
mending Saunders for the naval command. 
" Saunders had a high service reputation, but 
he was little known outside/ ' says Major Wood. l 
14 Yet as he was not much in the public eye, 

1 Logs of the Conquest of Canada. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Pitt required some moral strength to put him 
in command of the greatest British fleet then 
afloat in any part of the world.", Pitt's eye was 
as keen for naval as for military competency, 
and his genius for selecting his instruments 
was never more strikingly shown than in send- 
ing Wolfe and Saunders to take Quebec — if they 
could. Admiral and General had never met, l 
and Mr. Beckles Willson suggests that Wolfe 
had some doubts as to their possible relations. 
But Wolfe was too assiduous a student of 
national affairs to be in ignorance of Saunders* 
character, and if superiority to conventional 
methods when the conventional was obviously 
not the best, if energy, resource, and the desire 
to advance the public service did not make his 
naval colleague the very man Wolfe himself 
would have selected, then I am afraid he 
demanded the impossible. Mr. Beckles Willson 
tells us that in Saunders he found " a man 
after his own heart in his singleness of purpose 
and he resolved that this unanimity should 
extend throughout the service." 2 

Saunders, then, was to be naval Commander- 
in-Chief in the St. Lawrence, with Rear-Admiral 
Durell as his second, and Rear-Admiral Holmes 
as his third. The expedition was to sail in 

1 Beckles Willson, Life and Letters of James Wolfe. 

* Ibid. 


Preparing the Way 

February, and already on the 27th December, 
1758, Pitt said that the squadron was forward 
in its preparations. 1 Durell was to go ahead 
at the earliest moment, to get as far up the St. 
Lawrence as possible, and to perform the double 
service of preparing the way for Saunders and 
the transports carrying Wolfe's troops, and of 
preventing " any succours " from passing up 
the river to Quebec. In other words, Durell 
was to block up the St. Lawrence so far as the 
French were concerned. Pitt's energy in direct- 
ing preparations was amazing. He wrote explicit 
instructions to Durell ; to Amherst in America 
to have stores and colonial troops ready for 
Saunders at Louisbourg when he should arrive 
there in April ; to Wolfe and to Saunders, so 
that every one of the officers who were en- 
trusted with the execution of his great scheme 
might know precisely what was in his mind 
and have the benefit of his inspiring words. 
Diligence was invoked all round, and he wrote 
to Saunders on the 20th January, 1759, that if 
the disposition of arms, tents, etc., ordered 
by him could not be made in the Downs 
or at Spithead without even the least delay to 
the sailing, then the ordnance vessels and 
transports were to proceed with all expedition 
to New York and get the necessary things 

1 Wood, Logs of the Conquest of Canada. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

there. Wolfe was told in secret instructions 
that he was " to make the most pressing 
instances " to Amherst and Saunders, and in 
the event of Quebec being captured it was left 
to him and Saunders to determine what ulterior 
operations higher up the river should be under- 
taken in concert with Amherst who would be 
advancing towards Montreal. The concluding 
passage in His Majesty's Secret Instruction to 
the Brigadier-General ran : — 

" Whereas the Success of this Expedition will 
very much depend upon an entire Good Under- 
standing between our Land and Sea Officers, 
We do hereby strictly enjoin and require you, 
on your part, to maintain and cultivate such 
a good Understanding and Agreement, and to 
order that the Soldiers under Your Command, 
shall man the ships when there shall be occasion 
for them, and when they can be spared from the 
Land Service, as the Commander in Chief of 
Our Squadron is instructed on His Part to 
entertain and cultivate the same good Under- 
standing and Agreement and to order the Sailors 
and Marines, under his Command to assist Our 
Land Forces, and to man the Batteries when there 
shall be occasion for them and when they can be 
spared from the Sea Service ; and in order to es- 
tablish the strictest Union that may be, between 
You and the Commander-in-Chief of Our Ships, 
You are hereby required to communicate these In- 
structions to Him as he is required to communicate 
those He shall receive from Us to You." 


Amphibious Operations 

Much controversy has been devoted to the 
question of the respective parts played by the 
army and navy in the reduction of Quebec, the 
" blue water school " insisting that it was a 
naval affair essentially, and that Wolfe's army 
was only a large landing-party, the military 
side contending that the fleet held a merely 
subordinate and transport position. It is a 
controversy, to my mind, wanting alike in 
dignity and worthiness. Army and navy were 
equally indispensable to the taking of a fortress 
with a mighty river on one side and a well- 
guarded country on the other. Quebec was 
the best of all examples of Pitt's genius for 
what Mr. Corbett happily defines as " amphibi- 
ous operations/' and that Pitt intended 
Saunders* and Wolfe's forces to dovetail and 
in no way regard themselves as independent, 
could not be more clearly established than in 
the terms of the Commander's secret instruc- 
tions, which simply make all argument super- 
fluous. The operations cannot be properly 
understood if we ignore either the letter or 
the spirit of those instructions. 

Durell was on the other side of the Atlantic, 
and Holmes had left in advance with a fleet of 
transports, six sail of the line, and nine frigates, 
when Wolfe joined Saunders on the 'Neptune 
at Spithead on the 13th February. Saunders, 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

who the previous year had been made Rear- 
Admiral of the White, was now advanced to 
Vice-Admiral of the Blue. On the 17th he put 
to sea with ten sail of the line and several 
smaller vessels, hoping to reach the rendezvous 
at Louisbourg by the 20th April. On 10th March 
he wrote to Pitt : — 

"As I am now detaching His Majesty's Ship 
Lizard to New York, to assist in forwarding 
the Embarcation of the Troops, and convoying 
them to Louisburg, it gives me this Opportunity 
of acquainting you, for His Majesty's Informa- 
tion, that I am now in the Latitude of 46° 30' 
No. and 11 degrees West Longitude, from the 
Lizard ; and that I intend, to-morrow, or next 
Day, to send to Admiral Durell, to enforce the 
absolute necessity there is, for his being very 
early in the River St. Lawrence. 

" As that part of the Squadron which winter' d 
in America, must be short of their Complement 
of Seamen, I have wrote, by the Lizard, to the 
Governors of New York, and Massachusetts' 
Bay, to desire they will raise what Men they 
can, for the Squadron under my Command. 

" By the time of my Arrival at Louisburg, or 
soon after, I hope to have a full Account from 
Captn. Hood, who commands the Ships that are 
to convoy the Troops thither, of the Situation 
and Forwardness he is in ; I shall likewise 
expect the same from Admiral Durell ; and I 
beg you will assure His Majesty, that I will 
myself, with the Transports, be in the river, as 


Weather Bound 

soon as possible, in order to put my Instructions 
into farther Execution." 1 

They reached Louisbourg on the 21st April, 
but Saunders found that he could not get into 
the harbour. " There was such a crust of ice 
all along the shore from Scutari to St. Esprit," 
wrote Wolfe to Amherst, " that it was by no 
means safe to push in nor, indeed, possible at 
that time. ,, They made for Halifax, and here, 
on the 30th April, they found that nothing had 
been heard of Holmes, and to their intense 
disappointment Durell was riding at anchor. 
The weather had been severe and Durell had 
been unable to make a start for the St. Law- 
rence. Wolfe was impatient, as was his wont, 
and appears to have thought that Durell had 
tarried unduly. He wrote to his uncle a little 
later to say that " the Admiral Commander- 
in-Chief of the fleet is a zealous, brave officer," 
but he had doubts as to some others. Saunders 1 
letter sent to Pitt from the 'Neptune in Halifax 
Harbour on the 1st May does not reflect any 
of the irritability which characterised so large 
a part of Wolfe's correspondence : — 

" I proceeded myself for Louisburg, but on the 
21st was stopt by a Body of Ice . . . nor could 
I, or any of my small Ships find an opening, to 

1 A. & W. I., Vol. lxxxviii. See Kimball, Correspondence 
of William Pitt with Colonial Governors. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

get between that and the land, which I endeav- 
oured to do, till the 29th when meeting with 
some New England small vessels, bound to 
Louisburg who had given up all hopes of getting 
thither, and had bore up for some port to the 
Westward, and the Wind being at this time very 

fresh Easterly, with much 
Princess Amelia Snow and hard Frost; and 
Vanguard judging . . . that it would not 

Alcide be possible in Ten Days at 

Devonshire least, to get into Louisburg, 

Captain I thought it best for his 

Pembroke Majesty's Service, to bear 

Centurion up for this place, where I 

Prince of Orange anchored the 30th, and found 
Crown Admiral Durell, with the 

Squirrel ships named in the margin, 

Hunter Sloop unmoored and ready to Sail. 

Cormorant He waits only for a wind, 

Pelican and I hope will sail to- 

Baltimore morrow. He has on board 

his Squadron 400 of the 
Troops, with their Officers, to make their Com- 
plements, and General Wolfe has sent with him 
250 more, in three Transports under the Com- 
mand of Col. Carleton, to cooperate with 
Admiral Durell, in any Service that may be 
thought practicable, before our joyning them. 

" I shall refit and water my ships here, and if 
the Transports from New York arrive while 
that is doing, I shall carry them with me to 
Louisburg ; if not, I shall leave Orders for them 
to follow me, with the utmost expedition. 

" Admiral Holmes is not yet arrived ; I hope 


Bougainville s Escape 

to see him in a few days, or before I sail ; if not, 
I shall leave Directions for him to refitt with all 
possible Dispatch, and proceed after Adm 1 - Durell. 
" I have had no Intelligence of the Enemy since 
I left England, but it is reported here from New 
England that Mons r - Bompart is arrived at 
Martinico with Ten Sail of the Line and two 
Frigates.' ' 

Durell was not able to leave, unfortunately, 
till the 5th, and was too late to intercept 
Bougainville who got through with reinforce- 
ments and provisions in the nick of time, reaching 
Quebec only on the 10th. Quebec was known 
to be in sore need of such succour, and Bou- 
gainville's escape, whilst it meant a great 
deal to Montcalm who was to conduct the 
defence throughout that summer, added materi- 
ally to the difficulties which Wolfe and Saunders 
had to face. Durell arrived off the Isle 
of Bic by the 23rd, ran up the French flag 
and captured some French pilots, and with 
their unwilling assistance and the British genius 
for navigation, continued his course to the Isle 
aux Coudres where he landed 650 men under 
Car let on within twenty leagues of Quebec. 
The French had removed every possible danger 
sign on the river and believed that its treacher- 
ous shoals and currents would involve half the 
British fleet in disaster long before the expedi- 
tion got within striking distance of Quebec. 


6— (22 1 8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

The French were in the habit of regarding as 
overwhelming risks which men like Anson 
and Hawke and Saunders faced, confident 
that where the enemy could pass they could 
find their way too. As far up as Coudres, 
Durell had left the passage clear for the main 
fleet and transports. Saunders left Halifax 
eight days after Durell, was at Louisbourg on 
the 15th, and till the 4th of June was engaged 
with Wolfe in the formidable task of getting 
everything ready for the advance through the 
Gulf and up the river of twenty-two ships of 
war and 119 other vessels carrying Wolfe's 
little army of eight or nine thousand men. 
Of the anxieties of the two chiefs Saunders* 
must have been infinitely the greater, because 
he had to meet Wolfe's views as far as possible, 
while seeking to carry out the programme 
which, as Naval Commander-in-Chief, it devolved 
upon him to arrange. However, with Wolfe 
on board, the Neptune was once more at sea, 
and Saunders, in the midst of his preoccupa- 
tions, the control of the fleet, the drawing up of in- 
numerable orders for the guidance of his captains, 
the masters of the transports, and all the rest 
of it, 1 sent off the following letter to Pitt : — 

1 Wood's Logs of the Conquest of Canada contains the 
fullest technical account of these orders, of interest to ths 
naval student rather than the general reader^ 


Saunders to Pitt 

"Neptune, off 'Scutari, 
"Sn- "6th June, 1759. 

" On the 1st Ult°- 1 wrote to you in some hurry 
by an officer of Artillery going to England from 
Halifax, and omitted to acquaint you therein, 
that besides His Majesty's Ships mentioned in 
my said letter, I found riding there, the Rich- 
monde and Lowestoffe, the former of which had 
arrived from Plymouth the 14th, and the latter 
from Virginia, the 20th of April last. 

" Rear Admiral Durell sailed from Halifax the 
5th Ult°' being detained till that time by con- 
trary winds ; on the 12th, all the ships that 
went in with me being re- 
Neptune fitted, I unmoored, and on 

Royal William the 13th sailed from Halifax, 
Shrewsbury with His Majesty's Ships 

Oxford named in the margin, leaving 

Dublin the Lowestoffe and Hunter 

Alcide Sloop, to convoy to Louis- 

Stirling Castle burg, any Transports that 
Medway might arrive, and the Three 

Pelican Fireships and Europa armed 

Racehorse vessel, to take in Troops, in 

Baltimore case such Transports as did 

Rodney Cutter arrive in Time, were not 
sufficient to contain them. 
In my Passage out of the Harbor I was joined 
by the Somerset (Rear Admiral Holmes) and the 
Terrible, both of which proceeded into the 
Harbor, with Orders to refit, and join me at 
Louisburg, where we anchor' d the 15th ult°- 

" During my stay at Halifax, One Company of 
Rangers embarked in two Schooners, and are 
sent to reinforce the Troops with Rear Admiral 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Durell, under Convoy of Capt. Douglas of the 
Alcide, who, with the Stirling Castle, parted 
Company with me the 14th in order to join him 
in the River St. Lawrence : as Mr. Durell had 
no small vessel with him and none being arrived 
from the Continent, I thought it absolutely 
necessary to take into the Service, an armed 
Schooner at Halifax which seemed very proper 
for the purpose, and have sent her to him also 
under the Alcide' s Convoy; I have also found 
it needful to take up a small Sloop at Louisburg ; 
On my Arrival there I found his Majesty's Ship 
Northumberland (who had 
arrived the day before I did) 
and the Bedford and Prince 
Frederick, the two latter in a 
very bad Condition, both as 
to Men and Stores, but they 
sailed with me from Louis- 
burg the 4th Instant, in 
Company with His Majesty's 
Ships named in the margin 
and 119 Sail in Convoy, viz., 






Royal William 



Prince Frederick 





Hunter Sloop 








Rodney Cutter 

English — 
Ordnance Vessels . . 

Ordnance Vessels . . 
Transports, including 
Sloops and Schooners 







Transports and Troops 

11 Of the Remainder of the English Trans- 
ports, seven are missing, there being yet no 
account of their Arrival in America, several 
of them are gone to Boston, for 300 Pioneers, 
Whale Boats, and other necessary Stores, 
and several of them remain at New York, 
to repair the damages they received in their 
Passage ; His Majesty's ships Scarborough and 
Sea Horse are with them under Orders to join 
me with all the Artillery and Troops on board 
them designed for the River St. Lawrence 
except one Company of Rangers from the Bay 
of Fundy, and 40 of Bragg' s Regiment, that are 
on the island St. Johns, who are all hourly 
expected from thence. 

" On the 17th Ult°-» the first of the Troops and 
Provincialls, arrived at Louisburg from New 
York, under Convoy of the Lizard and Trent ; 
those from Boston, the Bay of Fundy, and Hali- 
fax were off the Harbour a few Days after them, 
but by the vast quantity of Ice surrounding the 
Harbor, with constant thick Fogs, they were 
prevented getting in (the greatest part of them) 
for ten Days at least. On the 27th the Harbor 
was so entirely filled up with Ice, that for several 
Days it was not practicable for Boats to pass. 
... I have stationed the Lizard^ at the en- 
trance of the River St. Lawrence, between the 
N.W. End of the Island of Anticosti, and the 
Southern Shore, and shall, as soon as I am able, 
station another Frigate between Anticosti and 
the Northern Shore ; I likewise sent the Night- 
ingale to cruize between Cape North and Cape 
Ray, and the Bird Islands, who returned very 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

leaky, as I was getting under Sail, having 
met with great Quantities of Ice, but spoke 
with nothing in her Cruize ; I have left her 
at Louisburg, with Orders to be ready to 
sail at a Moment's Warning, and I intend 
to send her to England with these Dispatches, 
which I shall send in to her, by an Armed 

" Governor Pownall has supplied the Fleet 
with 240 Men from Boston, which has been of 
great Service, to the Ships that were weakly 
handed, but, by his Contract with them they 
must be left behind in America. 

" There are still at Louisburg a Number of 
French Prisoners and Inhabitants, that have 
been maintained at great Expence, and taken 
up much Room in the Hospitals, that has been 
wanted for our own People, I have therefore 
ordered one of the Victuallers, which I have 
discharged of her Provisions, to take in such of 
them as Governor Whitmore shall appoint, 
and carry them to France, taking from thence, 
such English Prisoners in their Room as he shall 
be able to obtain. 

"The Alcide, in her Passage to the Gulph of 
St. Lawrence, has taken a French ship of 280 
Tuns, from Rochelle, laden, chiefly, with Mili- 
tary Stores, and Clothing for the French Troops 
in Canada ; I have not the least Information 
from her, or from any other Quarter, of the Ships 
or Motions of the Enemy. 

" I am now off the Island of Scutari, and stand- 
ing for the Gulph of St. Lawrence, with the 
Wind at West, the whole Number of Transports 


Saunders* Humour 

not having been able to get out to me, 'till this 
morning — 

"I have the Honor to be, with the greatest 
Respect, Sir, 

" Your most obedient humble Servant, 

"Chas. Saunders." 

Before he actually sailed, we are told 1 he 
not only issued his instructions as to the order 
of sailing, assigning to each vessel its position 
and duties, but he pointed out to each Master 
of a hired transport that if orders were not 
promptly and precisely obeyed they would be 
fired on, " adding, with a touch of grim humour, 
that the cost of the powder and shot so ex- 
pended would be carefully noted and charged 
against the hire of the offending ship. ,, 

1 Kitson, Life of Captain Cook. 


A Soldier's Impatience and a Sailor's 


A Soldier's Impatience and a Sailor's 

An Imposing Naval Spectacle — Up the St. Lawrence — The 
Humours of a Master — Wolfe's Impatience — Truth About 
Saunders' Co-operation — An Interesting Exchange of 
Letters — Wolfe's Victory and Death — Saunders Goes to 
Assist Hawke. 

jPHE sight of those 141 vessels of all sorts 
and sizes, Saunders' squadron in three 
divisions, the White, Red, and Blue, moving 
on towards the St. Lawrence in the alternating 
June sunshine and fog, must have been one of 
the most imposing and picturesque in naval 
records : all the more so because of the un- 
known dangers which might await it. It was 
a vastly different fleet from that which the 
Kirkes and Phips, or any French Admiral, had 
elected to take up the mighty river. The last 
British fleet which had attempted it forty- 
eight years previously went to pieces off the 
island of Anticosti. Now " the might of the 
Empire, directed by its brains, swept up the 
great waterway." 1 Wolfe's recently-recovered 
journal 2 of this particular time shows him in 
querulous mood, and inclined to call the naval 

1 Wood, Logs of the Conquest of Canada. 
1 Beckles Willson, Nineteenth Century, March, 1910. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

arrangements in question on the smallest pro- 
vocation. If Wolfe was disposed to be as 
critical of Saunders as Mr. Beckles Willson 
would have us believe, the line in Wolfe's Will 
dated Neptune, 8th June, 1759 : " I desire 
Admiral Saunders to accept of my light service 
of plate in remembrance of his guest/' serves 
at least to dispose of the idea that the General 
was labouring under any deep and enduring 
sense of annoyance. He was anxious to get 
on, but even Wolfe could not hold Saunders 
responsible for the atmosphere. Fogs and 
adverse winds compelled slow progress. There 
is something wrong about the diary as printed. 
On the 10th (probably a mistake for the 18th), 
Wolfe says : " About 8 the fleet anchored a 
little below Bic. Captain Hankerson told Mr. 
Saunders that there had been no ice in the 
River these two months. The succours from 
France anchored at Bic the 9th May." Hanker- 
son was Captain of the Richmond and had been 
up to Coudres with Durell. The Neptune made 
Bic on the 19th, and on that date the log re- 
ports : " Ye Richmond joind us : brot an acct. 
that Adm 1 - Durell and his squadron had got up 
to Cowdre." The dates are conflicting in any 
case. On the 19th Wolfe entered in his diary — in- 
dulging himself in what Mr. Beckles Willson calls 
" a slight fling at Dur ell's superior, Saunders " : — 

"The fleet got under way about 4 in the 


Slow Progress 

morning, but the Fog came on so thick we were 
obliged to anchor before 7. The Admiral run- 
ning all the great ships of war in amongst the 
Divisions of the Transports, threatened some 
danger and a good deal of disorder as the wind 
blew fresh. It seemed most natural to order 
such ships of war only as were intended for the 
service at Quebeck to proceed with the Divi- 
sions, the rest remaining behind at an anchor 
as a Rear Guard untill the Navigation was 
entirely free. At 2 went into the Richmond 
that I might the sooner confer with Mr. Durell 
and get some knowledge of the country — 
anchored at Green Island with the White 
Division — read a number of letters from Quebec, 
painting their distress in the liveliest manner. 
All in general agree that they must have starved 
if the succours from France had not arrived." 

Wolfe's wish was to go forward with the 
transports, leaving the men-of-war to come up 
at leisure. Was that the original design ? or 
was it due to a momentary thought of indepen- 
dent action ? What could he hope to do with- 
out the support of the squadron if he reached 
Quebec Basin ? Mr. Corbett takes the view 1 
that the news of Dur ell's failure to prevent 
Bougainville getting up, influenced Saunders* 
intentions. " If the news was bad, on the 
other hand Wolfe now knew he was to have 
a powerful support on which he had not counted. 

1 England in the Seven Years' War, Vol. i. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

It came from Saunders. What Wolfe had 
expected from him we know — a few ships to 
assist in the siege while the Admiral and the bulk 
of the fleet covered the army in a position in 
which they could also prevent a counterstroke 
on Louisbourg and Halifax. If this had ever 
been the Admiral's idea of one function of his 
fleet " — I confess I very much doubt it — " he 
had thrown it to the winds in face of his col- 
league's difficulties. Louisbourg and Halifax 
must trust to their own strength, the quickness 
of his cruisers and the vigilance of the covering 
fleets of Hawke and Boscawen. He had come 
to take Quebec. . . . Saunders was a man 
who could not hold off when fighting was in 
the wind. So away he went to share at first 
hand all Wolfe's anxieties and dangers, and all 
the bitterness of failure if failure it was to be." 

That was the spirit of the true comrade, and 
we must make a very large allowance for tem- 
perament in Wolfe, an allowance which will 
only heighten our respect for Saunders, if the 
note struck in Wolfe's diary is not to jar 
grievously. He had transferred himself to the 
Richmond , and would now be able to move 
ahead more quickly. Three days later Saunders 
himself reached the Isle-aux-Coudres, and on 
the evening of the following day hoisted his 
flag on the Stirling Castle. They had reached 


A Flan of the 

Sillery to the Fall of Montmerenci 

with the Operations of the 

under the Command of 
Vice A dm 1 Saunders &MajVGerfaVbl£e 

5 th Sep. 1159. 

Fart of the 

VpperJtiver Oj 

UpperJtiver of a^^iL% 

Charl ehourj 
lePetit Village 


d View o f the Jlclurn, "^^^^^ 
gamdbytheEnglifn^^^ 5 ^ "' 



Quebec. M^J&^^r.' 

The **£&&&£** 

ujayt in thi.Moiuilam , ST/hyl^..^ g^«^ 

S'.Laurence River -" 

shuts fi/Ptai* of stem* to 
%<Ufoui 'the Bead 

'^\Tfth{/tn-i*f , 

Hofipital Oerr. U MgHp 

r>^ jur*~zt~ m tfiiicFUa Maws, , 

gmtwatraia <r , 

thrSoffm R^ 


j, Heaupon a SAoat ^ 


Mr & wi/d* chr floats ■* 


T ff £ O v 

^ ,„„afch,flo*s- & \V, 

™/lf)m« jnucniy/nrCeetaf*^ , Admiral "4 ,./* < ••, 

s-'durUrt-livm ) •. -.+ ■ 4 <$V .' - • 

\ibr cxn/crittiJ-pHc jroops- 
att/ti^aati: ""••-.. 




Defences of Quebec. 


N?ofGuil». Mm 
J? * 
^,T/uCkryvmBa}i>etU . 2<f j 

C . Jai/orj kap 7 o 

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Jetty pointed t/uvficketa ?. c 

F .Queens Haiti y no Guns mounted o o 
O .Mm Battery at tAe upperpart 


Batteries. N?of Guns . Mart 
c1'du.XmgJYard j o 

H .$(* Bait? at the Lower 

part of du Kings Yard .3 
X.Jtoyat Battery 20 o 

\LJ)auphvi Battery jo o 



4 A 


The Survey 

a stage in the navigation where the greatest 
troubles might be expected ; they were ap- 
proaching the passage known as the Traverse, 
which the French authorities and pilots alike 
regarded as the certain grave of Saunders' 
fleet. Durell had been active whilst at the 
Isle-aux-Coudres in surveying the river, and 
checking such charts * as had fallen into British 
hands. As he had with him the master-sur- 
veyor, James Cook, who was to become famous 
as the great navigator, the work was pretty 
thoroughly done. Cook was Master of the 
Pembroke, and his log describes how, with 
" boats man'd and arm'd," they set out on the 
9th June to sound the Traverse, how on the 10th 
they " went on sounding as before/ ' and on 
the 11th how he " ret d - satisfied with being 
acquainted with y e Channel." Knox gives a 
diverting account 2 of the passing of the Tra- 
verse by Saunders* squadron : the page from 
his journal has often been quoted, but part of 
it must be repeated here. French pilots had 
been seized, and some of them were a menace 
rather than a security. It was the 25th June, 
and Knox wrote : — 

1 Cook's Charts, published a year or two later under the 
direction of Saunders, are given by Wood with the Logs of the 
Conquest of Canada, and very interesting studies they are. 

2 Knox's Journal, Vol. i. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

" As soon as the pilot came on board to-day he 
gave his directions for the working of the ship, 
but the master would not permit him to speak ; 
he fixed his mate at the helm, charged him not 
to take orders from any person except himself, 
and going forward with his trumpet to the 
forecastle, gave the necessary instructions. All 
that could be said by the Commanding Officer 
and the other Gentlemen on board was to no 
purpose ; the pilot declared we should be lost, 
for that no French ship ever presumed to pass 
there without a pilot : f Aye, aye, my dear 
(replied our son of Neptune), but damn me 
I'll convince you that an Englishman shall go 
where a Frenchman dare not show his nose.' 
The Richmond frigate being close astern of us, 
the Commanding Officer called out to the 
Captain and told him our case ; he enquired 
who the Master was ? and was answered from 
the forecastle by the man himself, who told him 
he was old Killick, and that was enough. I 
went forward with this experienced mariner, 
who pointed out the channel to me as we passed, 
showing me by the ripple and colour of the 
water, where there was any danger, and dis- 
tinguishing the places where there were ledges of 
rocks (to me invisible) from banks of sand, mud 
or gravel. He gave his orders with great uncon- 
cern, joked with the landing boats who lay off 
on each side with different coloured flags for 
our guidance ; and when any of them called 
to him and pointed to the deepest water, he 
answered * Aye, aye, my dear, chalk it down a 
damned dangerous navigation, eh ; if you don't 


Laughing at Dangers 

make a sputter about it, you'll get no credit for 
it in England, etc/ After we had cleared this 
remarkable place, where the channel forms a 
complete zigzag, the Master called for his mate 
to give the helm to somebody else, saying 
' Damn me, if there are not a thousand places 
in the Thames fifty times more hazardous than 
this ; I am ashamed that Englishmen should 
make such cavil about it/ The Frenchman 
asked me if the Captain had not been here 
before ? I assured him in the negative, upon 
which he viewed me with great attention, lifting 
at the same time his hands and eyes to heaven 
with astonishment and fervency.' ' 

However lightly Master Killick may have 
viewed the Traverse, a load of anxiety must 
have been removed from Saunders' mind when 
the leading ships and the bulk of the transports 
were safely through ; on the 26th June Wolfe 
was off the west end of the Isle of Orleans, 
and in the afternoon he was j oined by Saunders, 
who had come up specially in the Lowestoft, 
leaving the Stirling Castle, which was hence- 
forth to be his flagship, to follow. What did 
those two gallant spirits think and say as they 
looked across the Basin of Quebec at the 
fortress and city on the cliff at the confluence 
of the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles ? 
Wolfe and Saunders were soon busy getting 
the men from the transports on to the Isle of 


9 — (2218) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

Orleans ; Durell had been left at Coudres to 
prevent relief coming up the river, and 
General and Admiral were free to adopt the 
measures they deemed best calculated to reduce 
Quebec, or if they failed in that, to keep Mont- 
calm fully occupied whilst Amherst was making 
his way from Niagara to Montreal. The enemy 
were active ; they sent down fireships and 
radeaux ; 1 and they made a hot place of the 
Basin into which Saunders took his ships rather 
than have them cooped up in the compara- 
tively narrow channel of the river. The Beau- 
port shore on the north of the Basin, from the 
St. Charles to the Montmorency Falls, was 
strongly entrenched and well guarded, and 
Wolfe's idea of a smart action at the crossing 
of the St. Charles was defeated because the St. 
Charles was ungettable. Mr. Beckles Willson 
has always made a point of Wolfe's desire to 
get above the town, but that, anyone who has 
stood on the heights of Quebec must realise, 
was a desire which only the very best of good 
fortune could have gratified. That Saunders 
was in any way remiss or unwilling to promote 
his schemes there is nothing to show save some 
references which may or may not bear the 
interpretation which the most uncompromising 

1 There are two weird pictures of the fireships at Quebec 
in the Museum at Greenwich Hospital. 


Wolfe s Impatience 

of hero-worship puts upon them. That Saunders 
was as alive to possibilities and necessities as 
Wolfe himself is proved by the very first sug- 
gestion he made — a suggestion on which Wolfe 
acted. The French were strongly posted at 
Point Levi, the point which juts into the Basin 
from the south shore and partly obstructs the 
view of the Isle of Orleans from Quebec. 
They must be dislodged if the fleet was to be 
safe. To secure possession of the cliff here 
and at Point-aux-Peres, opposite Quebec, would 
give Wolfe the opportunity for effective bom- 
bardment. The French were smartly cleared 
out and the erection of batteries at Point- 
aux-Peres begun. Saunders, I am convinced, 
was prepared to run any risks short of the strong 
probability of sacrificing a good many excellent 
ships in a vain effort, and all the evidence goes to 
show that when wind and tide permitted he 
seized the opportunity of sending ships past 
Quebec, though apparently the object was as 
much to get at the French vessels with which 
Bougainville had managed to elude Durell in 
May as to further Wolfe's military schemes. 
Wolfe's diary of the 3rd July certainly says : 
" Consultation with the Admiral about landing 
— our notions agreeing to get ashore if possible 
above the town, we determined to attempt it," 
but they also agreed to begin by a bombard- 
ment of the town from Point-aux-Peres, and 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

it was not until the 12th that Wolfe was ready 
to open his batteries. Did Wolfe seriously 
entertain the belief that the ships could pass 
Quebec without assistance from his own artillery 
at the Point-aux-Peres ? 

And if he was so overwhelmingly keen 
on going above the town why, on the 8th, 
did he send a large part of his army to take up 
its position to the east of the Falls of Mont- 
morency ? a post he abandoned after his disas- 
trous attack on the Beauport shore on the 31st 
July. It has been stated and is repeated by 
Captain Anson, 1 that in July Saunders selected 
Jervis to lead the way past Quebec in the 
Porcupine. Wolfe is said to have been on 
board when the attempt was made and failed, 
the Porcupine being at one time in extreme 
peril. How is it that so important an incident 
escapes mention both by Saunders and in the 
log of the Porcupine so far as Wood gives 
it ? On the 16th, 18th, and 19th July Wolfe 
makes these entries : — 

" 16th. — Conference with the Admiral concern- 
ing the projected Descent — remaining Grandrs. 
ordered to the Rendezvous in the Isle of Orleans. 

" A squadron of men-of-war were to have gone 
by the Town to post themselves above. The 
wind fair, night seemingly favourable to their 
wish, but yet Capt. Rous did not go there. 

1 Life of St. Vincent. 


Running the Gauntlet 


18th. — The Sutherland, Squirrel, two transp ts - 
and 2 armed sloops passed the narrow passages 
between Quebec and Levy without losing a man. 
" 19th. — Reconnoitred the country immedi- 
ately above Quebec and found that if we had 
ventured the stroke that was first intended we 
should infallibly have succeeded/ ' 

" Infallibly " was subsequently scored through 
and " probably " substituted — in my view 
a much more significant alteration than Mr. 
Beckles Willson recognises. Four days later 
Wolfe records that " the Lowestoffe and 
Hunter endeavouring to pass the Town were 
taken aback." The log of the Hunter says : 
" When abreast of the town the wind 
took us short, and the French firing at us 
from their quarters in the town we could 
not sail to windward of Point Levey ; was 
obliged to put back." 

The last commentary on Wolfe's diary 
and Mr. Beckles Willson' s suggestion of " foiled 
plans " is provided by Admiral Saunders' letter 
to Pitt setting forth the order of events from 
the time of the British arrival opposite Quebec 
to within eight days of the fall. 

"Stirling Castle, off Point Levi, 
UQ . "5th Sept., 1759. 

" In my letter of the 6th of June last, I 
acquainted you I was then off Scutari, standing 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

for the River St. Lawrence. On the 26th I had 
got up with the first Division of the Fleet and 
Transports, as far as the middle of the Isle of 
Orleans, when I immediately prepared to land 
them there, which I did the next morning ; the 
same Day the second and Third Divisions came 
up and landed likewise ; I got thus far without 
any Loss or Accident whatever ; but directly 
after landing the Troops, a very hard gale of 
wind came on, by which many Anchors and 
small Boats were lost, and much damage received 
among the Transports by their running on board 
each other. The Ships that lost Anchors 
I supplied from the Men of War, as far as I was 
able, and in all other Respects gave them the 
best Assistance in my Power. On 28th at 
Midnight the Enemy sent down from Quebec, 
seven Fireships ; and tho' our Ships and 
Transports were so numerous, and necessarily 
spread so great a part of the Channel, we towed 
them all clear and aground, without receiving 
the least Damage from them. The next Night 
General Monckton crossed the River, and landed 
with his Brigade on the South Shore, and took 
post at Point Levi ; and General Wolfe took 
his on the Westernmost point of the Isle of 

"On the 1st of July I moved up be- 
tween the points of Orleans and Levi ; and it 
being resolved a few Days afterwards, to land 
on the North Shore, just below the Falls of 
Montmorenci, on the 8th I placed His Majesty's 
Sloop the Porcupine and the Boscawen Armed 
Vessel in the Channel between Orleans and the 


Saunders to Pitt 

North Shore, to cover that Landing, which took 
place that night. 

"On the 17th I ordered Captain Rous of the 
Sutherland to proceed with the first Night Tide 
and fair Wind, above the Town, and to take 
with him his Majesty's Ships Diana and Squirrel 
with two Armed Sloops and two Catts armed, 
and loaded with provisions ; These ships gave 
General Wolfe an Opportunity to reconnoitre 
above the Town, and they carried Troops for 
that Purpose. On the 18th at Night they all 
got up, but the Diana, who run on the Rocks by 
point Levi, and received so much Damage that 
I sent her to Boston with 27 Sail of American 
Transports (of those that received most Damage 
in the Gale of Wind of the 27th of June), where 
they are to be discharged and the Diana, having 
repaired her Damages is to proceed to England, 
taking with her the Mast Ships, and what Trade 
may be ready to accompany her. 

"On the 28th at night, the Enemy sent down 
a Raft of Fire-Stages, of near a hundred Ra- 
deaux, which succeeded no better than the 
Fire Ships. 

"On the 31st, Gen 1 - Wolfe determined to land 
a number of Troops above the Falls of Mont- 
morenci, in order to attack the Enemy's Lines, 
to cover which I placed the Centurion in the 
Channel, between the Isle of Orleans and the 
Falls, and ran two Catts I had armed for that 
purpose, on shore at high water, against two 
small Batteries and two Redoubts, where our 
Troops were to land ; About 6 at night they 
landed, but the General, not thinking it proper 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

to persevere in the attack, part of them re- 
embarked, and the rest, with General Wolfe, 
crossed the Falls to our Camp, Upon which, to 
prevent the two Catts from falling into the 
Enemy's hands, they being then dry on shore, 
I gave Orders to take the Men out, and set 
them on fire, which was accordingly done. 

"On the 5th of August in the night, I sent 
twenty flat-bottomed Boats up the River to the 
Sutherland, to embark twelve hundred and sixty 
of the Troops, from a Post we had taken on the 
South Shore, to which they were to march 
under the Command of Brigad r - General Murray, 
I sent Admiral Holmes up with him by land to 
go on board the Sutherland, to act in concert 
with him, and give him all the Assistance the 
Ships and Boats could afford. I likewise 
ordered Admiral Holmes to endeavour to get at 
and destroy the Enemy's Ships above the Town ; 
and to that Purpose I ordered the Lowestoffe 
and Hunter Sloop, with two armed Sloops and 
two Catts with Provisions to pass Quebec and 
join the Sutherland, but the Winds being 
Westerly, it was the 27th before they got up, 
which was the Fourth Attempt they had made 
to gain their passage. 

"On the 25th at night, Admiral Holmes and 
General Murray, with part of the Troops returned. 
They had met with and destroyed a Magazine 
of the Enemy's cloathing, some Gunpowder and 
other things ; and Admiral Holmes had been 
ten or twelve leagues up the River, but found 
it impracticable at that time to get farther up. 

" General Wolfe, having resolved to quit the 


Above the Town 

Camp at Montmorenci, and go above the Town, 
in hopes of getting between the Enemy and 
their Provisions, supposed to be in the Ships 
there, and by that means force them to an 
Action ; on the 29th at night, I sent up the 
Seahorse and two armed sloops with two Catts 
laden with provisions to join the rest above 
Quebec, and having taken off the Artillery from 
the Camp at Montmorenci, on the 3rd, in the 
forenoon, the troops all embarked from thence 
and landed at Point Levi ; The 4th at Night, 
I sent all the flat-bottomed Boats up, and this 
Night a part of the Troops march up the South 
Shore above the Town and are to be embarked 
in the Ships and Vessels there, and to-morrow 
night the rest will follow, and Admiral Holmes 
is again gone with them to assist in their future 
Operations, and to try if, with the Assistance 
of the Troops it is practicable to get at the 
Enemy's Ships. Yesterday I received a Letter 
from General Amherst (to whom I have had no 
opportunity of writing since I came into the 
River) dated Camp of Crown Point, August 7th, 
wherein he only desires I would send Transports 
and a Convoy to New York to carry to England 
six hundred and seven prisoners taken at the 
surrender of Niagara. 

"As General Wolfe writes by this Opportunity 
he will give you an Account of his part of the 
Operations, and his thoughts of what further 
may be done for his Majesty's Service. The 
Enemy appear numerous and seem to be strongly 
posted, but let the Event be what it will, we 
shall remain here, as long as the Season of the 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Year will permit, to prevent their detaching 
Troops from hence against General Amherst, and 
I shall leave cruizers at the Mouth of the River 
to cut off any Supplies that may be sent them, 
and with strict Orders to keep that Station as 
long as possible ; The Town of Quebec is not 
habitable, being almost entirely burnt and 

" Twenty of the Victuallers that came out of 
England with the Echo, are arrived here ; one 
unloaded at Louisburg having received Damage 
on her Passage out, and another has not been 
heard of here. 

" I have no Intelligence of any of the Enemy's 
Ships having come this Way, since my Arrival 
in the River, except one from Bourdeaux, loaded 
with flour and Brandy, which was taken by 
Capt. Drake of the Lizard. 

" Before Admiral Durell got into the River, 
three Frigates and seventeen Sail with Provi- 
sions, Stores, etc., and a few Recruits got up, and 
are those we are so anxious if possible to destroy. 

" I should sooner have wrote to you from hence, 
but while my Dispatches were preparing, General 
Wolfe was taken very ill ; he has been better 
since ; but is still greatly out of Order. 

" I inclose you the present Disposition of the 
Fleet under my Command ; I shall very soon 
send home the great Ships, and have the honor 
to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, 

"Your most obedient and most humble Servant, 

"Chas. Saunders." 

" The disposition of the ships under the 

Disposition of Ships 

command of Vice Admiral Saunders in North 
America, 5th September, 1759/' accompanies 
Admiral Saunders* letter : — 




Seahorse . 

Hunter Sloop 

Stirling Castle 



Alcide . 












Eurus . 




Pr. Frederick 
Hind . 

Diana . 

In the River, above Quebec. 

Off Point Levi. 

At the Isle of Camarasq. 
In Channel to the Southward 

of Isle au Coudre. 
Between Isle Orleans & the 

North Shore. 

At Isle au Coudre. 

At the Isle of Bic. 
Gone to Boston to convoy 
the Mast Ships. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 



Scarborough . 

Echo . 

Princess Amelia 
Orford . 
Royal William 
Somerset . 
Pr. of Orange 
Neptune . 
Strombolo . 

[Cruising between the west 

jend of Anticosti and the 

( South Shore. 

'To reconnoitre the No. 
shore of the River, proceed 
along the Coast of America 
to South Carolina, and from 
thence to convoy their Trade 

to England. 

To Search the No. shore as 

far as Mingan then to Gaspee 

Bay & return. 

To search the No. shore, 
down the River and thro* 
the Streights of Bel-Isle, to 

I the port of Labrador, & 

At Isle Madame. 

Admiral Durell is directed to 

station two of these ships, 

between Cape Torment and 

the East End of Orleans. 

Chas. Saunders. 

The letter, it may be held, settles little, and 
is no answer to the specific points raised by 
Mr. Beckles Willson. It at least provides 
evidence that the operation of getting above the 
town was not a simple matter, even supposing 

Admiral and General 

there were no other qualifying considerations. 
It is, of course, possible that Saunders was 
not well served, though I cannot imagine 
that he would have endorsed the results of ill- 
service. Captain Bell, Wolfe's aide-de-camp, 
says that the Admiral was going to supersede 
Rous and sent Captain Everett on board to 
know why he had not got under way. Rous' s 
excuse was " there was not enough wind." 
Bell adds : " It positively blew a 4-knott gale," 
and Mr. Beckles Willson concedes that Saunders 
could not work miracles with the material at 
hand. That does not seem to me to settle the 
question. There is nothing in Saunders* letter 
of the 5th September to suggest that he thought 
Rous wanting. I make every allowance for 
Wolfe, and no man holds him in higher regard 
than I do. His letters lose none of their interest 
from his habit of putting things strongly. The 
difference in the methods adopted by the 
General and the Admiral is sharply illustrated 
by a reference in Montcalm's correspondence : 
" Lettre polie de Saunders. Lettre d'une forme 
polie et d'un style acre de Wolfe." x The more 
intimate one's acquaintance with his style of 
criticism, the more complete one's knowledge 
of his impatience in all circumstances, the more 
sure we shall be that he expresses himself with 

1 Casgrain, Lettres du Montcalm d Levis. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

an emphasis which in moments of deliberation 
he would modify. An example is afforded by 
his report of the attack on the 31st July. That 
attack was to be made partly by troops who 
marched under the falls from the Montmorency 
camp, and partly by troops who were to be 
landed from catts — flat-bottomed boats — with 
the Centurion to bombard the batteries and 
redoubt on the French left. The event was in 
any case doomed to failure by the precipitancy 
of the grenadiers, whose mad courage Wolfe 
criticised with a dignity and severity that were 
worthy of the General and the occasion, but 
he appears in the original draft of his report 
to Pitt to have reflected sharply on the part 
played by the catts and the Centurion. His 
letter was submitted to Saunders who objected 
to its terms, and Wolfe modified them. The 
incident is one of the few in which happily 
the standpoints of the two men can be estab- 
lished by their own words. Saunders wrote 
from the Stirling Castle to Wolfe : — 1 
"Dear Sir, "25//* August, 1759. 

" Maj or Barry was with me yesterday and read 
to me your letter to Mr. Pitt in which, though 
I do not remember the words, it seems to throw 
difficulties you met with in landing on the 2 
Catts not being placed so as to annoy the two 
small batteries with their great guns and to 

1 Chatham Papers, 55, R.O. 


Saunders Protest 

their not being within musket shot which you 
had been told they would be. If you remember 
when Mr. Cook said he believed they wou'd be 
within musketry I told you often there must 
be no dependence on that and that I was allmost 
sure they wou'd not, however that is nothing, 
they did great execution against the two small 
Batteries and on your first landing you did not 
lose a man. What were lost was by waiting 
in the boats till low water which we were obliged 
to do after not landing at high as was at first 
designed. I cannot help mentioning your stat- 
ing the case as you have done and even without 
naming the Centurion whose fire everybody 
mentions with surprize on account of scarcely 
a single shot being at the lower redoubt and 
Battery, that did not take place, and which was 
silenced for hours together, as to the Boats 
grounding it was no loss of time, you cou'd not 
land till near low water, when I sent you word 
you might in case you thought you had Day 
light enough to make your Junction, and effect 
your business. When I saw the Boats rowing 
in for the ledge, I sent Capt. Chads to stop them, 
but before he got up a few grounded, which were 
immediately got off by the seamen jumping 
overboard to do it. I hope you are better and 
will be soon able to finish your letters, as it is 
high time we should be heard from in England. 
Pray let me hear how you do, and believe me 
with great regard and esteem, Dear Sir, 
"Your most faithful humble servant, 

"Chas. Saunders." 

Saunders' hopes that Wolfe was better 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

referred, of course, to the illness from which 
Wolfe was only now recovering. To this letter 
Wolfe replied : — 

" Banks of the St. Lawrence, 

" 30th August, 1759. 

"To Vice- Admiral Saunders. 

" Dear Sir, — I did not see the letter you did me 
the honour to write till just now, nor indeed 
could I have answered it before, if Major Barre 
had shown it me. I shall leave out that part 
of my letter to Mr. Pitt which you object to, 
although the matter of fact to the best of my 
recollection, is strictly as I have stated it. I am 
sensible of my own errors in the course of the 
campaign ; see clearly wherein I have been 
deficient ; and think a little more or less blame 
to a man that must necessarily be ruined, of 
little or no consequence. If you had recollected 
the purport of my letter you would not have 
found * that it throws any difficulties I met with 
in landing on the two cats not being placed so 
to annoy the two small batteries with their 
great guns.' On the contrary the cats did annoy 
the upper battery with their great guns, and 
performed that part of the service as well as 
could be expected ; and yet that battery was 
not abandoned by the enemy, but continued 
firing till the Grenadiers ran (like blockheads) 
up to it. However, its fire was of no conse- 
quence and not worth mentioning, nor the least 
impediment to landing. Mr. Cook said he 
believed the cats could be carried within 40 or 
50 yards of the redoubts. I told him at the 
time, that I would readily compound for 150 


Wolfe s Reply 

or 200 yards, which would have been near 
enough, had the upper redoubt been as far from 
the enemy's entrenchments as it appeared from 
our camp to be, and had I judged it advisable 
to attack it with a view to lodge in it, which 
I did not upon seeing that it was too much 
commanded. You will please to consider the 
difference between landing at high water with 
four companies of Grenadiers to attack a redoubt 
under the protection of the artillery of a vessel, 
and landing part of an army to attack the 
enemy's entrenchments. For this business, a 
junction of our corps was necessary ; and to 
join, the water must fall a certain degree. I 
gave up the first point (that of the redoubt) upon 
finding my mistake as to the distance from the 
entrenchment, and determined upon the latter 
(which I always had in view) upon observing 
the enemy's disorder, and remarking their 
situation much better than I ever could do 
before. The fire of the lower redoubt was so 
smart during the time that we were on board the 
Russell (I think it was) that, as neither her guns, 
nor the guns of the other cat could be brought 
to bear against it, I thought fit to order the 
Grenadiers out of her, by which I saved many 
lives. I was no less than three times struck 
with the splinters in that ship and had my stick 
knocked out of my hand with the cannon-ball 
while I was on board reconnoitring the position 
and movements of the enemy ; and yet you say 
in your letter they (the cats) did great execution 
against the two small batteries, and on your 
first landing you did not lose a man. 

10— (aai8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

" With regard to the Centurion, I am ready to 
do justice to Capt. Mantle ; but I am very sure, 
whatever his merit may be, the approbation 
would be more to the purpose coming from you 
than from me. In reality the position of the 
ship was in consequence of your orders, and 
I am very sure that, if you could have placed 
the whole fleet so as to have been useful to us, 
you would have done it. The Centurion had no 
enemy to encounter ; her position was assigned, 
and her guns were fired judiciously. The fire 
of that, and of the four-gun battery near the 
water-side, together with the want of ammuni- 
tion, kept their lower battery silent for some 
time, but yet we received many shot from that 
battery at landing ; and Brigadier Townshend' s 
corps was fired upon particularly in returning 
over the ford, though with little damage. 

"When I had resolved to attack the French 
army I sent Mr. Leslie to see how the water 
fell, that I might land at a proper time to join 
with Townshend, and when he made me his 
report, I made the signal to Col. Burton. Many 
of the boats ran upon the ledge ; and the delay 
occasioned by the accident was such, that I sent 
Captain Smith, my aide-de-camp, to stop 
Townshend, who was then crossing the ford ; 
and yet, Sir, you assert that there was no delay 
by this accident. None, indeed, that would 
have had any consequence if the strange 
behaviour of the Grenadiers had not lost us more 
time and brought on the night, and perhaps very 
luckily for the army, considering the disadvan- 
tageous nature of the attack. I remember you 


That Unlucky Day 

did me the honour to call to me from your boat 
to go in and see for a landing place ; and I re- 
member some gentleman's calling out at the 
same time from the boat that it was a proper 
time to land; and you may remember I went 
in, and made the experiment with a flat-bot- 
tomed boat, and one of the captains (I believe 
Capt. Chads), and when we had found what we 
sought for, I desired him to bring the boats 
forward. The rest makes up the remaining 
part of the story of that unlucky day ; the 
blame of which I take entirely upon my own 
shoulders, and expect to suffer for it. Accidents 
cannot be helped. As much of the plan as was 
defective falls upon me, and it is, I think, a 
matter of no great consequence whether the 
cats fired well or ill ; were well or ill placed ; 
of no great consequence whether an hour or two 
were or were not lost by the boats grounding ; 
and of as little consequence whether the Cen- 
turion's gunner directed his shot well or ill. 
In none of these circumstances the essential 
matter resides. The great fault of that day 
consists in putting too many men into boats, 
who might have been landed the day before, 
and might have crossed the ford with certainty, 
while a small body only remained afloat ; and 
the superfluous boats of the fleet employed in a 
feint that might divide the enemy's force. 
A man sees his error often too late to remedy. 
My ill state of health hinders me from executing 
my own plan ; it is of too desperate a nature 
to order others to execute. The Generals 
seem to think alike as to the operations, I, 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

therefore join with them, and perhaps we may 
find some opportunity to strike a blow. 

" I am, dear Sir, etc., 

"Jam. Wolfe." 

During his illness the General begged his 
officers to consult for the public utility. They 
were agreed that the time had come now that 
ships were above the town, to get up as 
many men as possible in the hope of drawing 
the enemy to a decisive action. Wolfe was 
quite prepared — indeed, the idea was entirely 
in consonance with his own — and perhaps one 
cannot sum up the truth as to his relations 
with Saunders more fittingly than in the words 
he wrote to Pitt : — 

"The Admiral and I have examined the town 
with the view of a general assault ; but after 
consulting with the Chief Engineer, who is well 
acquainted with the interior parts of it, and after 
viewing it with the utmost attention we found 
that though the batteries of the Lower Town 
might be easily silenced by the men-of-war, yet 
the answers of an assault would be little 
advanced by that, since the few passages leading 
from the lower to the upper town are carefully 
entrenched, and the upper batteries cannot be 
affected by the ships which must receive con- 
siderable damage from them and from the mor- 
tars. The Admiral would readily join in this 
or any other measure for the public service, but 


TDangers in Diaries 

I would not propose to him an undertaking of so 
dangerous a nature and promising so little 

Such a passage surely meets volumes of 
criticism ; it supplies the most concise and 
deliberate reply to the reflections on Saunders 
which the diary contains. Diaries are often, 
like letters, written in anger : in many cases they 
were better destroyed because they were better 
unread. They are penned in haste, and may be 
repented at leisure. I say this even at the risk 
of having Pepys or Evelyn hurled at my head I 

Early in August, as we see from Saunders* 
letter to Pitt of the 5th September, Admiral 
Holmes had gone up by the south shore to 
the Sutherland, and during the greater part of 
the month he was away endeavouring to get 
at and destroy the French ships and prevent 
the enemy from sending provisions by river 
down to Quebec. Wolfe fretted at the delay 
in his return. In the interval Saunders was 
sending as many boats past the town as wind 
and the French batteries would permit. One 
has only to read the Masters' logs to under- 
stand that King Boreas was not prepared to 
change his direction to suit the needs of 
Saunders and Wolfe any more than he was 
prepared to continue one course indefinitely 
to serve General Montcalm and Governor 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Vaudrueil. More and more flat-bottomed boats 
got up, however, and occasionally a sloop or 
a bigger vessel, and on the 3rd September 
Wolfe transferred his troops from the camp at 
Montmorency to the south shore. Saunders 
had his hands pretty full endeavouring to run 
the gauntlet of Quebec with his ships, and pro- 
viding at the same time for the movements of 
Wolfed men about and across the Basin. His 
own movements during the ten days before 
the decisive event which was to place Quebec 
at the mercy of Wolfe's little army on the 
Plains of Abraham cannot be traced. He may 
have been active with Wolfe along the south 
shore and the river west of the town, or he 
may have directed operations from the Stirling 
Castle in the Basin, leaving Holmes up-river to 
carry out the General's immediate wishes. 

Whilst the army was making its final prepara- 
tions and Wolfe was taking his final decision 
as to the spot at which he would endeavour 
to effect a landing, Saunders and Holmes were 
both busy with vessel and gun, disguising the 
immediate purpose of the army. On the night 
of the 12th 1 and the glorious but tragic morning 
of the 13th, the two wings of the fleet, the army 
being in the centre, gave the enemy occasion 
to wonder what was about to happen. How 

1 See Appendix. 


The Decisive Blow 

any man can have examined the logs, as one 
writer claims to have done, 1 and still deny 
that Saunders and Holmes were active, passes 
comprehension. Holmes moved up the river as 
Wolfe's boats were about to drop down, and 
Saunders demonstrated off the Beauport shore, 
whilst the Levi batteries played on the town. 
" At midnight/' says the log of the Pembroke, 
" all the row-boats in the fleet made a feint 
to land at Beauport in order to draw the enemy's 
attention that way to favour the landing of the 
troops above the town on the north shore." 
That the landing would be attempted any- 
where but near the town was suggested by 
the disposition of the ships, and that it would 
be attempted near the town, the French would 
have known had they understood James Wolfe. 
The firing from the west was heard on Saunders* 
flagship at half-past 4 in the morning ; a few 
hours' suspense and Saunders learned that 
victory was won and Wolfe was dead. Wolfe's 
body was taken on board the Lowestoft, and 
the next day transferred to the Stirling Castle : 
at 3 p.m., runs the Stirling Castle's log, " came 
on board our longboat and bro't the corps of 
General Wolf who was killed in the late action." 
To Saunders the moment must have been one 
of intense emotion : for eleven weeks he and 

Edinburgh Review. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Wolfe had shared the anxieties of a task which 
men of larger experience regarded as beyond 
possibility of achievement, and the event had 
claimed his colleague as the price of victory. 
We have failed to understand Saunders* char- 
acter if we cannot say with confidence that 
Wolfe's end was one which the Admiral would 
have welcomed for himself if need be. Wolfe's 
remains were sent to Point Levi on the 15th, 
were embalmed by order of the Admiral, for, 
as I have said elsewhere, 1 none but he could 
have taken the step, and sent to England in 
the Royal William. That was Saunders' tribute 
to Wolfe's memory and the Empire's loss. 

In his matter-of-fact way the Admiral re- 
ported these stirring events and their sequel : — 

" Admiral Saunders to Pitt. 
[No date, but evidently of September 20th, 

1759. Received 16th October.] 

"I have the greatest Pleasure in acquainting 
you that the Town and Citadel of Quebec 
surrendered on the 18th instant, and I enclose 
you a Copy of the Articles of Capitulation. The 
Army took Possession of the Gates on the Land 
Side, the same evening, and sent safeguards 
into the Town to preserve order and to prevent 
anything being destroyed ; and Capt. Palliser, 
with a Body of Seamen, landed in the lower 

* Lifejof Wolfe. 


The Event and After 

town, and did the same : The next day our 
Army marched in, and near a thousand French 
Officers, Soldiers and Seamen were embarked 
on board some English Catts, who shall soon 
proceed for France, agreeable to the Capitulation. 

M I had the honor to write to you the 5th instant 
by the Rodney Cutter, a Duplicate of which 
I enclose herewith ; The Troops mentioned in 
that Letter, embarked on board the Ships and 
Vessels above the Town in the Night of the 
Sixth instant, and at 4 in the morning of the 13th 
began to land on the North Shore, about a mile 
and a half above the Town ; General Montcalm 
with his whole Army left their Camps at Beau- 
port and marched to meet him ; a little before 
Ten both Armies were formed, and the Enemy 
began the Attack ; Our Troops received their 
Fire and reserved their own ; advancing till 
they were so near as to run in upon them and 
push them with their Bayonets, by which, in 
very little time, the French gave way, and fled 
to the Town in the utmost Disorder and with 
great Loss, for our Troops pursued them quite 
to their Walls, and killed many of them upon the 
Glacis, and in the Ditch, and if the Town had 
been further off, the whole French Army must 
have been destroyed, about 250 French Prisoners 
were taken that day, among whom are Ten 
Captains and Six Subaltern Officers, all of whom 
will go in the great Ships to England. 

"I am sorry to acquaint you that General Wolfe 
was killed in the Action, and General Monckton 
shot thro* the Body, but he is now supposed to 
be out of Danger, General Montcalm, and the 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

3 next French Officers in Command were killed, 
but I must refer you to General Townshend 
(who writes by this Opportunity for the Par- 
ticulars of this Action ; the State of the Garrison 
and the Measures he is taking for keeping Pos- 
session of it ; I am now beginning to send on 
Shore the Stores they will want, and provisions 
for five thousand men, of which I can furnish 
them with a sufficient Quantity. 

"The night of their landing, Admiral Holmes, 
with the Ships and Troops, was about three 
Leagues above the intended landing place. 
General Wolfe, with about half his Troops, set 
off in Boats and dropped down with the Tide, 
and were, by that Means, less liable to be dis- 
covered, by the French Centinels posted all 
along the Coast ; The Ships followed them 
about f- of an Hour afterwards, and got to the 
Landing Place just in the Time that had been 
concerted to cover their Landing, and consider- 
ing the darkness of the Night, and the Rapidity 
of the Current, this was a very critical Operation, 
and very properly and successfully conducted. 
When General Wolfe and the Troops with him 
had landed, the Difficulty of gaining the Top of 
the Hill, is scarcely credible ; it was very steep 
in its ascent and high, and had no path where 
two could go abreast, but they were obliged 
to pull themselves up, by the Stumps and boughs 
of Trees that covered the Declivity. 

" Immediately after our Victory over their 
Troops, I sent up all the Boats in the Fleet with 
Artillery and Ammunition, and on the 17th, 
went up with the Men of War, in a Disposition 


Preparing for Home 

to attack the lower Town, as soon as General 
Townshend should be ready to attack the 
Upper \ but in the Evening they sent out to the 
Camp and offered Terms of Capitulation. 

"I have the farther Pleasure of acquainting 
you that during this tedious Campaign, there 
has continued a perfect good understanding 
between the Army and Navy : I have received 
great Assistance from Admirals Durell and 
Holmes, and from all the Captains ; indeed 
every body has exerted themselves in the 
Execution of their Duty ; Even the Transports 
have willingly assisted me with Boats and 
people, on the landing the Troops, and many 
other Services. 

" This will be delivered to you by Captain James 
Douglas, whom I send home in his Majesty's 
Ship Lowestoffe, and Admiral Durell will sail 
with the great Ships in two or three Days ; 
I shall myself follow as soon as possible, leaving 
at Halifax Lord Colvill in the Northumberland , 
with four more Ships of the Line, and two or 
three Frigates, with Orders to come up here 
as early in the Spring as possible. I propose 
to appoint a Captain to the Northumberland 
under Lord Colvill, and to order his Lordship 
to hoist a Broad Pennant. 

"I have the honor to be with the greatest 
Respect, Sir, 

" Your most obedient and humble Servant, 

"Chas. Saunders." 

On the 5th October Saunders reported that 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

he had sent Admiral Holmes in the Dublin 
(with His Majesty's ships Prince Frederick and 
Seahorse) to see a number of transports out 
of the river. He was then to proceed to Spit- 
head. Convoys accompanied him with troops 
for Louisbourg where they were to take in 
prisoners and carry them to England. " I 
purpose to follow him as soon as possible, 
with the Remainder of the Squadron and 
Transports here," after furnishing the garrison 
of Quebec with provisions, ammunition, etc. 
" I am sorry it has not been possible to get at 
the French Frigates up the River." The Scor- 
pion sloop, Racehorse bomb, and two armed 
vessels were to be left to winter in the St. 

Saunders having shifted his flag to the 

"Sailed from Quebec on the 18th with His 
Majesty's Ships named in the Margin, and 22 
Transports, in which, by General 
Somerset Monckton's desire, I have brought 
Shrewsbury from thence, six French Officers, 34 
Devonshire Private Soldiers, 33 Seamen, and 21 
Vanguard Deserters. I have ordered Lord 
Squirrel Colvill (whom I have left to com- 

Cormorant mand in America, and to winter 
at Halifax) to hoist a broad pen- 
nant, and have appointed him a Captain, and 
left under his Command, five Ships of the Line, 


A Historic Note 

three Frigates and three sloops. The Hunter 
sloop was sent to New York, by General Monck- 
ton's desire, soon after the surrender of Quebec 
in hopes of returning this Fall, with Mony for the 
Service of that Garrison, but considering the 
little probability there is, of succeeding therein, 
and as there was no Mony left for the Service 
of the Garrison, I collected from the Gentlemen 
of the Navy and left with General Monckton, 
near four thousand pounds, for which I have 
taken his Bills, on the paymaster of the Army, 
making myself Accountable to the Gentlemen 
from whom I collected it." 

Apparently the Admiral with two ships in 
addition to the Somerset pushed on ahead for 
home. He had barely entered the English 
Channel, when he got news that Hawke was 
out after Conflans and was not, perhaps, any 
too strongly equipped for the work in hand. 
Saunders must have been tired, his ships were 
foul, and his officers and men were certainly 
eager to get home. But he did not hesitate a 
second. He turned south and despatched this 
little note to Pitt :— 


"The Lizard now bearing N.W.b.N. distance 
17 Leagues (having with me the Devonshire 
and Vanguard) I am joined by Capt. Phillips 
of the Juno, who informs me that the French 
fleet is at sea and Sir Edward Hawke after 
them. I have therefore only time to acquaint 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

you that I am making the best of my way in 
quest of Sir Edward Hawke, which I hope His 
Majesty will approve of. I have the honour to 
be with the greatest Respect, Sir, 

"Your most obedient humble servant, 

"Chas. Saunders." 


" 19th November, 1759. 

"Rt. Hon. Wm. Pitt, Esq." 

Saunders, baffled by contrary winds, was 
unable to get near Hawke till after Conflans 
had been crushed at Quiberon. When, on the 
22nd, he learnt of Hawke* s success — the re- 
markable nature of which he would not have 
gathered at the moment — he put about and 
made for Plymouth according to one statement, 
for Cork, whence he travelled to London by way 
of Dublin, according to another. If Quebec had 
already made him one of the heroes of that 
annus mirabilis, his going after Hawke on the 
offchance that he might be of service put a 
final touch to the popular esteem. Even Lord 
Chancellor Hardwicke was moved. " The part," 
he wrote, " which Admiral Saunders has taken 
voluntarily is, I think, the greatest I ever 
heard of." Walpole said : " He arrived too 
late ; but a moment so embraced could not 
be accounted lost." 1 

1 Memoirs of George II. 


< '** 

,^„ /<•.// <t%HfA*e* 



? Z :>Ks,: '/f'vZf/K 


Saunders Merits 

Applause, it is said, met him on every side, 
and would be none the less gratifying because 
he had to divide the honours with Hawke 
and Boscawen. The King honoured him, 
Parliament voted him the thanks of the nation, 
and he was frequently startled, when he was 
recognised, by the resounding plaudits of the 
people. When Pitt reviewed the work of 
generals and admirals who had realised his 
great expectations in nearly every direction, 
he paid noble tribute to Wolfe, and in men- 
tioning survivors generally, he singled out 
Saunders " whose merits/ ' he said, " had 
equalled those of the men who have beaten 
Armadas — May I anticipate," cried he, " those 
who will beat Armadas ! " l 

The whole nation was impressed by the 
excellent relations which subsisted between the 
two services at Quebec. General Townshend, 
who succeeded to the command of Wolfe's army, 
wrote to Pitt to acknowledge " how much we 
are indebted for our success to the constant 
assistance and support " of the naval service, 
" and the perfect harmony and correspondence 
which have prevailed throughout our opera- 
tions " — a harmony, he might have added, 
which he himself did something to qualify in 
the relations of the army officers themselves. 

1 Memoirs of George II. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Hardwicke wrote to Newcastle : "I question 
whether any other two officers except Saunders 
and Wolfe would have carried this arduous 
affair through." 1 

And as a matter of fact, is there need 
to attempt to apportion the degrees of credit 
due respectively to the twin chiefs of ^he 
great enterprise successfully accomplished ? { On 
the heights of Quebec stands the monument 
to Wolfe and Montcalm ; in the history of the 
British Empire there should be an equally 
simple and equally eloquent monument bearing 
just the words, " Wolfe," " Saunders." As 
Major Wood well puts it: 2 "The Quebec 
campaign was, of course, an amphibious attack 
by a large fleet and a small but efficient army. 
The fleet and convoy were manned by twice 
as many seamen as Wolfe had soldiers. The 
fleet scouted for the army, moved it, fed it, 
supported it in every way and at all times, 
and finally put it in position to win the decisive 
victory of the Plains of Abraham. The Quebec 
Medal,' with its Britannia and Trident, and its 
commemoration of ' Saunders ' and ' Wolfe ' in 
the legend, clearly shows that the authorities 
of the day took a juster view of the Navy's 
work than nearly all historians have. The 

1 Yorke, Life of Hardwicke, Vol. iii. 
1 Logs of the Conquest of Canada. 


Twin Chiefs 

Navy was a single force making the whole 
war one. For this reason every naval defeat 
or victory was felt round the world ; and for 
this secondary reason, the Navy could prepare 
and confirm the conquest of Canada in Euro- 
pean waters while securing it for the Army on 
the spot." If, as Mr. Beckles Willson says, 1 
the idea that he should share the laurels of 
Quebec would have surprised none more than 
Saunders himself — " who always attributed the 
sole merit to Wolfe and Wolfe alone " — that in 
my opinion only goes to prove the essential 
and simple greatness of Wolfe's naval colleague. 
Saunders 1 work in any case stands alone, 
and his title has been finely stated by the 
master-pen : — 2 

"To carry such a fleet as his up such a river, 
to maintain it there for three months in spite 
of gales and batteries and two attacks of fire- 
ships, to preserve it in perfect harmony with 
the sister service, to judge and take every risk 
soberly and yet to the extremity of daring and 
finally to bring it forth again at the last moment 
with the loss of but one ship was a stroke of 
conduct without parallel. It is enough to have 
placed him in the front rank of sea commanders. 
But by the frailty of human judgment such a 
place can only be won by a successful action — 

1 Life and Letters of Wolfe. 

2 Corbett, England in the Seven Years 1 War. 


11— (2218) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

a test which often has not called forth a tithe of 
the admiralship which Saunders* more sober 
triumph entailed. Though he lacked the genius 
of Wolfe his hand throughout was the surer of 
the two, and dazzling as was the final stroke 
by which Wolfe snatched victory from failure, 
the slender flame of Saunders* exploit is working 
to burn beside it without loss of radiance for 
all time." 


Mediterranean Manoeuvres and 


Mediterranean Manoeuvres and 

Saunders Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean — 
Searching Out the Enemy — A Diplomatic Service — 
Bourbon Intrigue — Important Captures — Holding up 
Big Ships. 

HpHE victories of 1759— " we have," said 
Horace Walpole, " taken more places 
and ships in a week than would have set up 
such pedant nations as Greece and Rome to 
all futurity " — included Admiral Boscawen's 
over De la Clue in August at Lagos : as deter- 
mined if not as desperate an event as Hawke's 
in November at Quiberon. Boscawen had been 
in command of the Mediterranean during the 
year, and he and Brodrick had better fortune 
in dealing with the French efforts to get through 
the Straits than came to Osborne and Saunders. 
Projects for the invasion of England now, 
as fifteen or sixteen years earlier, lay buried 
around the shores of France, thanks to 
Hawke and Boscawen and others. Boscawen 
returned to England, and during the winter 
Saunders was appointed his successor in the 
Mediterranean. One can imagine these gallant 
sailors foregathering, perhaps on occasion with 
Pitt and Anson, to review Lagos, Quiberon, and 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Quebec, and their bearing on the world-drama 
from India to America, with its rapid develop- 
ments and its denouement not yet in sight. 

It was decided that Saunders again should 
take up the role of watch-dog in the Straits of 
Gibraltar ; and at the beginning of May he 
was completing his preparations for the com- 
mand of that sea " on whose shores," as Dr. 
Johnson said, had existed " the four great 
Empires of the world — the Assyrian, the Per- 
sian, the Grecian, and the Roman." The 
Mediterranean, the cradle and burial-place of 
Empires, was to contribute its full share to 
the romance of an Empire greater than any in 
extent, more remarkable than any in its free- 
dom. The foundations of that Empire had 
been laid : Pitt's ambition was to raise a 
superstructure which no alien hand could bring 
down, and in the carrying out of the design, 
Saunders was proving himself one of the most 
efficient of instruments. 

On the 4th May, 1760, Saunders wrote : 
" Their Lordships having done me the honour 
to appoint me to command a squadron of His 
Majesty's ships in the Mediterranean, I am to 
beg the favour of you to move their Lordships 
to direct that such a sum of money may be 
imprested to me as their Lordships think proper 
for the contingent service of the said squadron." 


At Sea Again 

This note is docketed : " Imprest £1,000 : See 
what Admiral Boscawen had : the same to be 

By the 9th Saunders had only succeeded in 
getting part of his squadron ready for sea, but 
he was prepared to sail with the part if their 
Lordships desired him to be off at once, as evi- 
dently they did. He left a few days later with 
some six ships, directing the remainder of the 
thirteen of the line and twelve cruisers to follow. 
A touch in one of his letters shows what his 
sailors thought of him : " There are," he said, 
" some seamen left on board the St. George, 
who have sailed with me many years, and 
are very desirous of going with me again 
if their Lordships think proper to order them 
to be discharged into the Neptune." Among 
his papers is the code of private signals he 
arranged for the squadron on the way out : — 


"BY day 
" In case of losing company and meeting again 
the ship to windward shall hoist an English 
ensign at her foretop gallant masthead, and the 
ship to Leeward shall answer by hoisting a 
Dutch Ensign at her main top gallant masthead. 
Then the ship to windward shall hoist a French 
Jack at her Mizen peek and the ship to Leeward 
shall answer by hoisting a Dutch Jack at the 
same place. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

"by night 
"The ship to windward shall hoist three lights 
in a triangle thus A\ at the Mizen peek 

S3 S3 

and the ship to Leeward shall answer by hoisting 
two lights one above another in the main 
shrouds. Then the ship to windward shall burn 
two false fires and the ship to Leeward shall 
answer by burning one. 

" If within hail by night the ship that hails 
first shall ask What ship's that ? The other shall 
answer King George. The ship that hailed first 
shall reply of Great Britain. The other shall 
answer God preserve. 

"Dated, etc., 15th May, 1760. 

"Chas. Saunders/' 

Saunders reached Gibraltar in the Neptune 
on the 9th June ; the smashing blows of the 
previous year had resolved French naval activity 
into its elements, but those elements were still 
formidable, and concentration might still enable 
them to turn the tables here and there, though 
their chances of retrieving the fortunes of France 
were slender unless England committed some 
egregious blunder. The first information 
Saunders received was that " ten sail of men- 
of-war are equipping at Toulon with the utmost 
despatch/ ' but as the information was " far 
from distinct or satisfactory, " he determined 
to proceed with five or six sail of the line to 


Preparations at Toulon 

investigate for himself. He left for the east 
with ten sail on the 24th June, and his search 
for the enemy during the next fortnight did 
not help him much. He heard on the 3rd July 
that ships and frigates had left Toulon on the 
21st June, with no troops or extra stores on 
board, and were reported to have gone to 

In Toulon there were three ships, said to 
be Genoese, built for sixty-four guns, but 
their appearance did not suggest that they 
were getting ready for sea. Saunders divided 
his force : he sent four ships under the com- 
mand of Captain Palliser to continue the east- 
ward search and himself hastened back to 
" the Streights," where, on the 12th July, he 
wrote that he was confident from what he 
gleaned that he was to the westward of the 
enemy. He would continue to cruise in the 
Straits whilst the wind was easterly " in hopes 
to intercept them should they come this way/' 
He sent the Vestal to look into all ports and 
bays on the Spanish side where the French 
might anchor, and the Valour to search the 
coast of Barbary as far as Algiers, but no sign 
of the enemy could be discovered. He thought 
the French might be equipping the remainder 
of the ships in Toulon either to endeavour to 
pass the Straits or to effect a junction with those 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

in Malta. In case any ships should slip past, 
he ordered Palliser to join him at Gibraltar 
with all possible despatch. Before the end of 
the month he had grown impatient at the 
paucity of his news, and on the 28th he again 
proceeded up the Mediterranean, 

" By which means I shall be able to procure 
more early and more frequent accounts of the 
ships Capt. Palliser is in quest of (which by 
various information are certainly gone to the 
Eastward) and likewise by keeping off Toulon 
I hope to annoy the enemy more effectually 
than by remaining at Gibraltar as I shall procure 
more certain Intelligence of their motions in 
that port and prevent their sending out more 
men-of-war either to join those to the Eastward 
or to get out of the Mediterranean." 

Saunders* energetic search was maintained 
throughout the summer without material inci- 
dent, but his diligence was not wasted. It 
was such " that from the time he made his 
appearance in these seas the enemy's trade 
was reduced to a state of stagnation." l Spain's 
uncertain attitude made the friendship of 
Portugal for England especially important, 
and Saunders had an eye for diplomacy as well 
as strategy. In the previous year Boscawen 
had violated the neutrality of the Portuguese 

1 Beatson quoted by Corbett. 


Strategy and Diplomacy 

coast in making what Walpole called a " bon- 
fire " of part of De la Clue's fleet ; though when 
Pitt heard of it he said significantly : "It is 
true, but the ships are burned/ ' He was none 
the less concerned lest Portugal might take 
serious umbrage in order to put herself right 
with France and Spain. Pitt, therefore, des- 
patched Lord Kinnoul on a special mission of 
apology to the Portuguese Court, and Saunders, 
" with his sagacious feeling for a general situa- 
tion/ ' * played an excellent stroke in support. 
" Hearing," says Mr. Corbett, " that a number 
of influential Portuguese had been expelled 
from the Papal dominions, he sent a frigate to 
Leghorn to carry them to Lisbon. The step had 
an excellent effect, and no doubt contributed 
substantially to Kinnoul's success." 

Saunders* official chiefs at home were quite 
satisfied with his efforts. They commended his 
endeavours to intercept the enemy as " well con- 
ceived." He certainly drove the French helter- 
skelter to whatever refuge presented itself. In 
September Palliser chased several of their ships, 
but they were able to take shelter before he 
could come up with them. He reported to the 
Admiral that he had heard the object of the 
French in going to the Levant was to make a 
parade there for the honour of their marine, 

1 Corbett, England in the Seven Years' War, Vol. ii. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

but as they had been driven to seek protection 
in Ottoman ports they must be " placed in a 
still more contemptible light there." 

The year 1760, superficially regarded, lends 
some point to the suggestion that the war was 
being continued by Pitt unnecessarily, as New- 
castle thought, and that France would have 
eagerly seized any occasion for negotiating a 
peace. That may or may not be true. Pitt 
was convinced there was no hope of an enduring 
peace between the two countries until France 
had been driven from every sea and crushed 
beyond the chance of speedy recovery. The 
country was with him, and continued cheerfully 
to find whatever men and money he wanted 
either to assist Frederick of Prussia or to 
strengthen the naval and military forces of 
England at home, on the seas, in India or in 

The event of 1760 which had most bearing 
on the future was the death of George II. 
Little as he loved Pitt George II had given him 
willing support when once he realised what the 
policy of the great Commoner meant to England 
and to Hanover. With the accession of George 
III the atmosphere of the Palace changed. 
Pitt had long foreseen that before hostilities 
could be brought to a satisfactory conclusion 
trouble must come with Spain. He was fully 


Pitts Foresight 

informed of the Bourbon intrigues afoot, and 
the new year was to provide tangible proof of 
Franco-Spanish unity in the shape of the Third 
Family Compact. Pitt would have forced the 
pace, but George III and his friend Bute, 
whom the King insisted on introducing into 
the Cabinet, were convinced that Pitt's views 
of Spanish intentions were mere prejudice. So 
far as he was in touch with international politics, 
Saunders seems to have sided with the King and 
Bute, though 1761 was not far advanced before 
signs accumulated which showed Pitt to be 
right. In October, 1761, Pitt resigned, and Bute, 
then supreme, aimed at putting a speedy end 
to the war, only to discover within a month 
or two that the conflict with Spain was 

The Admiral received news at the end of 
December, 1760, that there was movement in 
Toulon : the St. Anne (one of the Genoese 
sixty-four guns) was said to be fitting out " on 
the merchants' account and ready to sail for 
Martinico." Saunders immediately took steps 
to prevent her from getting away, but there 
was reason to fear without effect. He sent out 
seven ships, five to cruise between Carbaretta 
Point and Ceuta and two off Cape Spartel. 
He wrote, on the 12th January, 1761, from the 
Neptune, Gibraltar Bay : — 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

"On the 5th inst., the Gratnont arrived here 
from Villa Franca and informed me that on his 
passage down he had looked into Toulon and 
seen a large ship (which he took for the St. Anne) 
in the Outer Road ; I sent him out again 
immediately to join Captain Palliser. 

"On the 7th Captain Gower in the Quebec 
returned and joined Captain Palliser and sent 
me an account that on the 5th he had fallen 
in with a French 64-gun ship about 22 Leagues 
to the Eastward of Cape de Gatte and that he 
supposed her to be still to the Eastward of him ; 
I thereupon sent immediately the Preston and 
Dunkirk to proceed up the Barbary shore ; 
and the Hercules to take with him the Quebec 
and go up the Spanish shore in quest of her ; 
but on the 9th the Poleacre brought me word 
from Captain Fergusson that he had on the 7th 
in the morning chased a large ship that would 
show no colors but got away from him among 
the shoals of St. Pedro ; I have heard nothing 
from him since, but am very apprehensive that 
this ship was the St. Anne who by the Favor 
of a dark night and a fresh Levant, had the good 
fortune to escape, although there were the eight 
ships in the Gut. It is said she is when unloaded 
to proceed to Brest. 

"By Captain Trale of the Gramont I receive 
further advice that the French are actually 
at work on and fitting out at Toulon the Pro- 
tecteur i Altier, Oriflamme and St. Vincent, and 
that they will put all their other ships in repair 
and keep them in Readiness ; that they have 
now at Toulon another Genoese 64-gun ship, 


" The Favor of a Dark Night" 

called the Saint Francoise de Paule and have 
contracted for two more. It is also reported 
that the Oriflamme is to carry but 32 guns and 
the St. Vincent 36 and both to be laden on the 
merchants' accounts for Martinico, and that 
the last mentioned Genoese ship is to be laden 
in like manner. I do not hear whether they 
are to sail together or not but I suppose they 
will think a single ship at a time the most 
probable way to escape ; I hope, however, we 
shall have better success in intercepting them 
and desire you will inform their Lordships that 
my utmost endeavours for that purpose shall 
not be wanting. 

" I shall keep all the ships here in constant 
readiness to proceed in the spring off Toulon 
or upon any other service that may be necessary 
according to the intelligence I may receive of 
the enemy's motions at Toulon/' 

A month later Saunders reports : — 

"By the Castel ship from Marseilles and letters 
from Villa Franca, I am informed that at 
Toulon the French are loading the Oriflamme, 
St. Vincent and the last ship they had from 
Genoa on account of the merchants, and that 
a ship, a brig and a snow are loading at Marseilles 
all designed for the West Indies ; I have there- 
fore divided the ships within my reach to cruize 
from Cape Palos, and the opposite shore in 
Barbary westward on different stations to the 
Capes Trafalgar and Spartel and further 
Westward. . . . 

" As the French ships endeavour to pass the 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Streights singly in the Night time I hope by 
spreading our ships in this manner to prevent 
their getting away as I am sorry to acquaint 
their Lordships the St. Anne did, that being the 
ship which the Firm chased within the shoal of 
St. Pedro, but you will please to acquaint their 
Lordships that I shall take care always to have 
a sufficient strength to prevent any number of 
ships of Force from passing the Streights 
together should they attempt it." 

In these ceaseless excursions in quest of the 
French, Captain Palliser and others protested 
to the Admiral that whilst English ships res- 
pected neutrality — a fairly cool claim in view 
of Boscawen's exploit off Lagos — French ships 
violated it with impunity so far as Spain was 

Saunders wrote home on the 5th March in 
terms which would not assist to disabuse Pitt's 
mind of the sinister purpose of the Bourbons : — 

" ' I have received numberless complaints of 
the partial and unjust behaviour of several of 
the Spanish Governors from Tariffa all along 
the coast of Spain, particularly of the protection 
given to French privateers and their immediate 
admission to pratique (though guilty of the most 
notorious breaches of neutrality), whilst his 
Majesty's ships are kept in quarantine and scarce 
permitted to purchase the most trifling refresh- 
ments. I have represented many of these 
complaints to his Excellency the Earl of Bristo] 


The Spaniards and Neutrality 

at Madrid, but whatever promises of Redress his 
Lordship may have obtained thereupon, the 
Spanish Governors hereabouts continue to act 
with the same partiality and injustice as before, 
and as I apprehend it may not be the intention 
of the Court of Spain that their Governors 
should act in this manner, I think it probable 
that a representation thereof at home may be 
the means of putting a stop to such proceedings 
which is the reason I trouble their Lordships 
therewith. During my command here the 
strictest neutrality has been observed by the 
fleet, not a complaint having been made to me 
on that head. I likewise enclose for their 
Lordships' information a copy of a letter I 
received from Mr. Goldsworthy. The Spaniards 
are fitting out all their men-of-war, but I cannot 
apprehend it is with any such design as is 
mentioned in that letter.' " 

What grounds Saunders ever had for scepti- 
cism as to Spanish intentions we cannot tell : 
reports of Spanish movements by land and sea, 
of ships being sent secretly to the West Indies, 
and of warlike stores being deposited where 
they would be serviceable, if well found should 
have been conclusive. April brought news of 
the capture of the Oriflamme by the Isis, after 
a running fight of some hours, in which Captain 
Wheeler of the Isis was one of four killed on 
the English side, but Lieutenant Cunningham 
took command, and fought with such spirit 


12 — (a* : 8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

that Saunders recommended him to their Lord- 
ships' favour and appointed him to the com- 
mand of the Oriflamme till their pleasure was 

Saunders no doubt was informed of the 
course of events elsewhere, and about this 
time he would have learned, as did Pitt at 
home, that his friend Keppel had sustained a 
reverse in his first attempt to take Belle Isle 
— a set-back which was to be repaired later 
by Hodgson's attack, on lines curiously, as 
Mr. Corbett suggests, resembling those of Wolfe 
on the Heights of Abraham. The French 
continued busy with preparations for the inva- 
sion of England, but with all their principal 
ports from Dunkirk to Toulon blockaded or 
carefully watched by men like Saunders and 
Keppel they might as well have spent their 
efforts on arrangements to invade the moon. 

On the 27th April, the wind being easterly, 
Saunders left Gibraltar Bay to cruise off Ceuta, 
and when it changed to the westward he 
proposed to proceed off Toulon with nine 
ships :— 

"As I have received information that the 
St. Vincent (one of the Genoese ships bored for 
64-guns) was loading at Toulon on account of 
the merchants and was very soon to sail for the 
West Indies, with other smaller ships and vessels 


Protecting Trade 

both from that port and Marseilles, I have left 
his Majesty's ships Trim, Anson and Dunkirk 
to cruize for them on different stations in and 
about the Gut for some time lest any of them, 
and particularly the St. Vincent shoud happen 
to pass me, in my passage up, after which those 
ships are to join me off Toulon, but as the 
Dunkirk is very foul, I have ordered her first 
to be careened. 

" I have left the Frigates named in the margin 
to be stationed also in and about the Streights of 
Gibraltar as may be most con- 
Sheerness ducive to his Majesty's service 
Thetis for intercepting the enemy's ships 

Cygnet and protecting the trade of his 

Favorite Majesty's subjects/ 

Saltash The rest of the Frigates under 

Terror my command are stationed as 

Poleacre follows, viz., the 

Squirrel — between Leghorn and Naples. 

Vestal — off Malta. 

Pallas — off the South end of Sardinia. 

Quebec — Eastward of Malta, and thereabouts 
according to the intelligence which 
Captain Gower might obtain. 

Active — to the Southward ) 4 r M , 

Gibraltar— to the Eastward ) 01 ^? e M01a - 

" I expect to join the A ctive and Gibraltar going 
up, as the latter will have looked into Toulon. 

"I received letters the 21st inst. by express 
from the Hon. Edward Hay, Envoy Extra- 
ordinary and Sir Harry Frankland, Consul- 
General at Lisbon, informing me that a French 
Line of Battle ship and two or three others 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

(either Frigates or Privateers) infested the coast 
of Portugal and desiring I would send them a 
reinforcement of ships for that coast, but con- 
sidering I must either leave the Gut open for the 
St. Vincent and others bound out of the Medi- 
terranean, or reduce the number of ships already 
few enough to carry with me to the Eastward, 
and further believing that the French would 
scarce continue a Line of Battle ship for any 
time on that station, I apprehend it might be 
only some outward bound ship, that had acci- 
dentally fallen in with and chased the Prince 
Frederick packet ; I therefore declined sending 
any of my squadron thither as my doing it 
would have entirely discounted the whole plan 
I had laid down for this summer's operation, 
and I hope their Lordships will approve thereof. 
" ( The ships that will be with me to the East- 
ward are victualled to near six months' flesh, 
five months' bread and four months' wine. 
They have all of them very near their full 
complements of men and leave behind amongst 
them about one hundred sick at the Hospital.' " 

Two days after this letter was despatched, 
the Jersey and the Somerset chased a large 
ship which escaped under the shelter of a small 
Spanish fort in Carbonera Bay. She was 
the 'Notre Dame de la Rosarie, a sixty-four 
gun ship with forty-six mounted, bound from 
Toulon to the West Indies. " The next morning 
we fell in with another large ship near Oran 
into which port she unluckily escaped and 


The Honour of the Flag 

proves to be the St. Vincent mentioned in my 
former letter." 

To prevent such ships getting into the 
Atlantic, Admiral Saunders went westward. He 
had no intelligence of any ships of force fitting 
out at Toulon, and his " chief end in appearing 
off that port was the Honor of parading with 
the British flag and making it respectable in 
that part of the Mediterranean." In the middle 
of May he received news that a French sixty- 
four and two thirty-fours had anchored off 
Cadiz. He despatched the Hercules and 
Favourite sloop, and learned later that the 
Achilles (64), and Bouffon (34), were at single 
anchor ready to sail. He hoped to block them 
up as he heard that a convoy was on its way 
to the coast of Portugal and Gibraltar. For 
two months the Achilles and the Bouffon were 
watched. On the 21st July Saunders sent this 
interesting item home : — 

" It is with great pleasure that I desire you will 
acquaint their Lordships that Captain Proby 
in the Thunderer who was cruizing off Cadiz 
with the Modeste, Thetis and Favourite sloop, 
in order to intercept the Achilles and Bouffon, 
has fallen in with and taken those ships and 
brought them into this bay. 

" On looking into Cadiz on Thursday morning, 
the 14th inst., he missed the French ships and 
at 2 in the afternoon of the 16th he discovered 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

them ; Cadiz then bearing E.N.E. \ E. dist. 
9 Leagues, about 1 in the morning of the 17th, 
the Thunderer came up with and began to engage 
the Achilles , who struck after an action of about 
half an hour, Cadiz then bearing E. 2° S. dist 19 

"The Thetis came up with the Bouffon about 7 
the same morning, they engaged also about 
half an hour, when the Modeste coming up and 
firing some guns, the Bouffon struck. The 
Thunderer is pretty much damaged in her masts, 
yards, sails and rigging and had 17 killed in 
action and 113 wounded, 17 of which are since 
dead. The Thetis has also suffered in her 
masts, Rigging, etc., but had not one man killed 
or wounded.' ' 

It was a trying time for the Admiral, and he 
had all his work cut out to discharge the various 
duties which necessarily devolved on him, but 
his devotion was thoroughly understood at 
home as was shown when, during this year, 
he was made K.B. by proxy : a tribute which 
he would much have appreciated. His difficul- 
ties were added to by the necessity of protecting 
trade while keeping an eye on the movements 
of scattered bodies of the enemy. Neutrals 
like the Danes gave him trouble : as he causti- 
cally put it they " entered into the gainfull 
trade of covering the enemy's goods " to the 
advantage of the French, who could not protect 
their commerce, and the detriment of the 


A Source of Worry 

British, who were quite able to look after 

As for the Notre Dame de la Rosarie and 
the St. Vincent, they were a source of worry- 
throughout the summer. The Notre Dame left 
Carbonera Bay near the end of June, was 
chased by the Jersey who lost her during a 
violent squall, and came to an anchor off 
Estepona, where she was watched by the Dun- 
kirk and Gibraltar. The St. Vincent clung to 
Oran. Whilst they were at large Saunders 
could not leave the Straits though he wanted 
to be off Toulon. When fresh ships came to 
him from home in July or August he was able 
to carry out this idea. He returned to Gibraltar 
on the 10th October. By that time the St. 
Vincent had taken refuge in Carthagena, but 
the Notre Dame was still at Estepona. 


Bearer to Await Reply 

Bearer to Await Reply 

Anson's Secret Express — Saunders on Marseilles and Cadiz — 
Hay's Mysterious Request — Spain joins in the War — 
Anson's Death — Bute's Peace. 

OITT threw up office in disgust when it 
became clear that the King and Bute were 
prepared to play the game of Spain by refusing 
to strike before her plans had matured. Sir 
Charles Saunders himself had by that time seen 
that a war with Spain was probable. Infor- 
mation from Lisbon should alone have sufficed 
to establish Bourbon intrigues. But he was to 
get a hint of a more definite nature which reached 
him almost before he had had an opportunity 
of speculating as to the upshot of political de- 
velopments at home. Pitt had gone, but Anson 
remained. That was at least some guarantee 
that everything was not to be sacrificed. 

The following letter marked " Secret " was 
despatched to Saunders from Spithead in the 
Montreal frigate less than three weeks after 

Pitt's resignation : — 

"Admiralty, 22nd Oct., 1761. 

"Dear Sir, 

" The present administration being determined 

to push on the war with all the vigour possible 

it becomes necessary to find what are the proper 

objects to employ the land and sea forces of this 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Kingdom upon. Marseilles among others hav- 
ing been thought of I must desire you will with 
the utmost secrecy inform yourself of the 
strength of that place, whether it is attackable 
and what will be the first requisite for the 
attack. The expedition may be kept secret 
by giving it out that it is intended to retake Port 
Mahon. If you can suggest any other place 
within the Mediterranean that may be an object, 
you will mention it in your answer to this letter. 

" It is thought by some people here that Spain 
has an inclination to declare war against us. 
I own I am not of that opinion, not seeing what 
advantage can accrue to her from that measure ; 
nor do I think her weight would be great though 
it was thrown into the scale of France. 

" I have his Majesty's commands to inform you 
that he thinks it for his service that you should 
keep the principal part of your squadron at or 
near Gibraltar, where if a Spanish war should 
happen you may be reinforced. 

"Lord Howe proposed a scheme to Mr. Pitt 
in case of a rupture with Spain, to attack the 
Spanish fleet in the Bay of Cadiz and in case 
they should fly to the Pentulles, to shelter 
themselves, to follow them and destroy them 
there. This was certainly a gallant proposal. 
How fit and proper it may be to attempt it, 
if a war should happen, you must inform me not 
having been myself ever at Cadiz. 

" If you will procure the best plan you can of 
the Port of Cadiz and make your remarks upon 
it yourself, it will be the best way of conveying 
your idea to me. 


Saunders Reply 

"I must desire you will give me a particular 
account of the Spanish fleet, what part of it is 
at Cadiz and equipped for service as well as at 
the other different ports. I should likewise be 
glad to know what may be the number of the 
Spanish seamen and the state of their stores. 

w You see how necessary I think it that what 
I have said to you should be kept secret that 
I write it all in my own hand. It is needless to 
tell you that nobody living can have more 
friendship and esteem for you than 

" Your very humble servant, 

" Anson. 

"P.S. — You will send the frigate back with 
your reply." 

Saunders* reply was sent off on the 16th 
November : a long and intensely interesting 
review of the position, with a covering note in 
which he lamented never having been either 
at Marseilles or Cadiz, but showed his keenness 
to gather up all possible intelligence that might 
further Anson's views. The despatch must be 
given in full : — 

" Marseilles being the port at which all the 
trade of the enemy in the Mediterranean centres, 
I have long considered it a place of the greatest 
importance in these parts, consequently a 
successful attempt on it would be a fatal blow to 
their Marine and Commerce. Its situation 
being by the seaside and its fortifications (as is 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

said) very slight to the land, are inviting cir- 
cumstances to attempt it. From a view of the 
draught of that part of the coast there appears 
no great difficulty in making a descent near to 
the place ; the fleet attending such a service 
perhaps may not be able to lie in full security 
from all annoyance from the enemy or from the 
weather, till a landing is made good, but at the 
proper season that hazard may be run for so 
great an object. 

"The several islands of Roteanneau, Pomegu 
and Iff, I am informed, are well fortified and 
command all the best anchoring places, but 
it is a question with me whether to reduce any 
of them first would not require more time than 
to reduce the town itself by a sudden and 
vigorous attack, before any succours could be 
thrown into it by the enemy, but of these 
matters, or of what can be undertaken after 
landing, I am really no judge, they being out of 
my sphere, nor have the knowledge of such 
things as are necessary for forming an opinion 
thereupon, such as the true nature of the Forti- 
fication, the nature of the ground, whether the 
approaches after landing are easy or difficult, 
etc., nor am I a judge of the number of troops 

" The fleet proper to be employed must in a 
great measure be regulated by the force the 
enemy may be supposed able to employ against 
us ; and it ought to be sufficient to enable the 
commanding officer to keep a superior force to 
the enemy in constant readiness to oppose them 
independent of those that may be necessary 


The Chances of Success 

for attending the operations of the Army, for 
such as are so employed cannot be supposed to 
be always ready and fit for action ; neither 
should the safe retreat of the army from the 
continent depend solely upon those ships who 
are to engage the enemies' fleet when they may 
appear, and by thus securing the army against 
all hazard of being surprized by sea or of wanting 
a fleet to retreat to, their spirits will be kept 
up in their operations at landing. As it is reason- 
able to expect some accidents must happen in 
prosecuting such an expedition both to the men- 
of-war and transports, and as well from the 
weather as from the enemy, the greatest incon- 
venience attending it that occurs to me at 
present will be that of being so far from any 
port of our own or of a friend's (if those of Spain 
can't be trusted to), and making use of the King 
of Sardinia's ports would perhaps expose him 
to the resentment of France to whom his country 
lies open, so that there is no port to trust to but 
this which is 250 leagues off. However, success 
may in some measure be a remedy for this 
inconveniency, but every precaution should be 
taken against the fleet and army being distressed 
for want of water, which is to be apprehended 
either in case of failing in the attempt or in case 
of the troops not being able to keep their ground 
long enough to recruit their expence, and I 
think proper to inform your Lordship that when- 
ever the transports may arrive at Gibraltar, they 
can't recruit their water there, there being often 
so great a scarcity that I am obliged to send 
some of the ships of the squadron to Tetuan, 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

which, being a dangerous coast, is a precarious 
dependence. I don't suggest this difficulty in 
order to discourage the expedition, but in order 
that some remedy may be thought of, amongst 
others that of having ships loaded with water 
for the transports may be proper ; as to the 
men-of-war here they may, against the proper 
time, be fully compleated. 

" After such an expedition should be resolved 
on and its coming this way can be no longer 
concealed, its being reported to be against 
Mahon, may possibly occasion a reinforcement 
to be sent to that island which will be favourable 
to the other scheme, or if they should be alarmed 
for Marseilles and draw their troops from Mahon, 
that place will be exposed ; a small squadron 
in advance at the proper time to cruize about 
that island may favour the appearance of the 
Design being against it. 

" I herewith send the best plan I have of the 
Bay of Marseilles, also an account of the military 
in Provence last year, since the receipt of which 
I have been informed that it remains the same, 
and if there had been any late alterations I 
believe I should have been informed of it, it 
coming to me from hands who I think may be 
depended upon, and who if I send to them may 
be able to dispatch a person to Marseilles and 
get an account of that place for your further 
satisfaction if your Lordship approves of my 
taking that step. 

" In case of a rupture with Spain a successful 
attack upon their ships at Cadiz would certainly 
be a stroke of great importance, and great 


English Built Spanish Ships 

honour would accrue to his Majesty's arms 
thereby, but as I have never been at that place 
I cannot at present give any authentic account 
thereof, but no means in my power shall be 
neglected to secure the best plans and draughts 
thereof as soon as possible, which I will transmit 
to your Lordship with every other information I 
am able to procure worthy your Lordship's notice* 

"Inclosed is a list of the Spanish Navy which 
I had lately from Cadiz with two other lists 
(inclosed also), by which your Lordship will see 
how some part of their fleet is employed, but 
since the date of those lists five ships of the line 
have sailed for the West Indies, three from Cadiz 
with 5,000 troops on board, and two from Barce- 
lona with two barks ; it is said the latter carried 
3,500 barrels of powder, 1,500 bomb shells, 500 
chests of arms and a considerable quantity of 
cannon ball. In conversing with some Spanish 
officers I have understood the occasion of this 
armament to be that 2,000 of the last troops 
sent to America have turned robbers, and these 
are intended to reduce them and send them 
home, officers and all. 

"Such of their men-of-war as I have lately met 
with are exceeding fine ships and scarce to be 
distinguished from English, which is owing to 
their having a very able English builder at Cadiz 
and another at Cartagena. Should a rupture 
with Spain ensue, these men might give us the 
most useful information, and if there still remains 
in them any attachment to their native country, 
they might possibly be purchased for that 


JS— (t2i8) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

" I have not been able to procure any authentic 
account of the number of their seamen, but the 
number of their trading vessels appears to be 
greatly increased this war, insomuch that con- 
sidering how many of their ships are already 
manned, I am inclined to think that by a general 
embargo they would soon be able, in regard to 
numbers, to man their whole navy. 

"I cannot yet learn anything with certainty 
concerning the state of their stores, but I have 
heard that the Arsenals, docks, etc., etc., which 
they have for some years been employed about 
at Cadiz, are formed on a more extensive plan 
and will, when finished, be the compleatest work 
of the kind. I am also told that the fortifica- 
tions which are intended for the defence of these 
works are left to be compleated last, a small 
part of them only being yet finished, and they 
are building Arsenals, etc., on the same plan at 
Cartagena. These reports are only what I have 
accidentally picked up in conversation, but 
I hope soon to be more particularly informed 
of all these matters. 

" If on a rupture with the Spaniards the French 
should put Minorca into their hands, or if from 
any other circumstance Oran should become 
an object worthy of attention, I enclose to your 
Lordship a plan of that place given me by 
Captain Palliser, who was lately cruizing off 
that place. It is a fine harbour and has a good 
Castle for its defence, and I think there is no 
doubt but the Algerines would act in Concert 
with us to drive the Spaniards out of that 
country, and perhaps if it were thought worthy 


" Crouching for a Spring" 

of our acceptance, give us that harbour and 
castle with some advantageous grants in regard 
to trade, which I apprehend might be worth 
attending to as there are several large and 
populous towns in the inland parts of that 
neighbourhood, and the French do now reap 
very great advantages in their trade to Bona, 
a strong fortified settlement in Barbary, which 
they possess by virtue of some grant of this kind 
from the Turk." 

Events were now to develop apace, unfor- 
tunately more rapidly than news could be got 
through to Saunders. Mr. Corbett says he was 
at Gibraltar " crouching for a spring/' Cadiz 
as well as Marseilles was in his mind, when word 
reached him in December from the Earl of 
Bristol, the British Ambassador at Madrid, of 
the critical situation. The Spaniards had 
responded to the Ambassador's request for 
definite information as to their intentions, by 
orders which they attempted to keep secret, 
that every British ship in Spanish ports should 
be seized. On the 24th December Saunders 
once more wrote home regretting that he had 
never been in " the Bay of Cadiz," and as he 
could get no satisfactory information from 
others who had, he was unable to determine 
how far an attack was practicable, " or whether 
the hazard is not too great even for so very 
considerable an object." At the end of the 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

first week in the new year he reported that 
the Spaniards at Cadiz had been putting them- 
selves " with great vigour " into a state of 
defence ; they were alarmed, probably, by 
rumours that Saunders was about to attack 
them in punishment for the seizure of English 

From all the circumstances, the claims on 
his own resources on both the Mediterranean 
and Atlantic side, and the necessity of guarding 
the Straits, Saunders was sorry he could not 
" but look upon an attack on Spanish ships 
at or about the Puntals as too hazardous an 
undertaking " and without any prospect of 
success to His Majesty's arms. Until he heard 
further from England he declined to make the 
attempt. These uncertainties did not prevent 
him apparently when, nearly three weeks after 
the event, he learned that war had been declared 
against Spain, from making a move with a 
view to effecting this " too hazardous " under- 
taking. He arrived off Cadiz in the third week 
in January, but too late to deliver the stroke 
he may have contemplated, much to his chagrin 
though not to his surprise. x That he was right 
to resist what must have been a strong tempta- 
tion is unquestioned. Success would have 
meant much : failure might have involved 

* Newcastle Correspondence, Add. MSS., British Museum. 


Hays Urgent Message 

irreparable disaster. All his ships were wanted 
on other duties, and as Choiseul's scheme for 
invading England was now to be based on a 
Franco-Spanish rendezvous at Ferrol, it became 
more than ever important that he should be 
in a position to prevent any junction of the 
Mediterranean and Atlantic forces. Even 
the blockade of Cadiz would have been a 
mistake. " His fine strategical insight and 
his masterly grasp of the essential condi- 
tions quickly convinced him " of this. "It 
would be trying too much at the risk of losing 
everything. ,, * 

His perplexities were increased by receipt of 
an urgent secret message from Hay, the British 
representative at Lisbon. Portugal had resisted 
all suggestions that for her own integrity 
sake she should throw in her lot with France 
and Spain : if England understood the impor- 
tance of Portuguese friendship, Portugal, on 
her part, saw that she had more to gain by 
steadfast loyalty to England than by listening 
to blandishment or thinly-veiled menace from 
either Paris or Madrid. But her peril was 
great, and one day Saunders got a letter from 
Hay requesting him to send some ships to the 
Tagus, which might be instructed " to drop 
one by one as by accident into this port so as 

1 Corbett, England in the Seven Y tars' War, Vol. i. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

to form a small squadron of great and small 
ships here." He entreated the Admiral to take 
this " under his most serious consideration/' 
and " to rely upon me for the expediency of 
this measure. The case is urgent." 

Not unnaturally Admiral Saunders was con- 
cerned as to the particular mission for which 
the ships were wanted, and he could ill afford 
to part with any. However, he felt that the 
necessity for such a message must be great, 
and despatched the Thunderer, Montague, and 
Anson. But he desired to know " the nature 
of the service on which they were to be em- 
ployed, for it is impossible for me to give any 
orders in regard to matters I am ignorant of." 
The three vessels were to be returned to him 
within ten or twelve days. The reason for 
Saunders* unwillingness to part with any vessels 
not absolutely necessary to security elsewhere, 
is equally graphically and briefly expressed in 
a note of the 6th February, 1762. " As the 
French are preparing to careen many of their 
ships at Toulon and to fit out all they can, 
I apprehend I shall in a little time be greatly 
perplexed in the disposition of the squadron 
under my command, for if I cruize in the Gut 
with an easterly wind to intercept the French, 
I must leave Cadiz open, either for the Spanish 
ships to sail from thence or to be joined by 


Why the Ships Were Wanted 

others from Europe or the West Indies, and if 
I cruize to the west of the Gut the French may 
get out of the Mediterranean and by hauling 
close round Cape Trafalgar, make a junction 
with the ships at Cadiz." 

Realising all this Saunders seems rather to 
have repented of letting the ships go to Lisbon ; 
and sent a further injunction to Hay that they 
should be returned at once. Hay thereupon 
told Saunders what had happened. The Portu- 
guese Minister, Oeyras, had confided to him a 
full account of Franco-Spanish plans for com- 
pelling Portugal to abandon England. Portugal 
was not prepared to resist a Spanish invasion, 
least of all could she repel a naval attack on 
Lisbon. Oeyras* object was to temporise while 
steps were being taken to put the capital in a 
state of defence, and it was vital to keep open 
the Tagus until the sea forts and such ships as 
she possessed could be put into a proper 
state of repair. There must be no obvious 
collusion between England and Portugal, 
and Spain must have no excuse for delivering 
an immediate blow. 

In this dilemma the Portuguese Minister 
wanted the English ships at hand, but in 
order that no suggestion of their purpose 
might get abroad he thought even the Admiral 
should be kept in the dark. When Saunders 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

knew what the exact object in view was, he 
fell in with the scheme at once, even though it 
might cause him some embarrassment. Any 
serious anxiety was relieved by the arrival of 
Sir Peircy Brett to be his second in command, 
with two or three more ships which the Admi- 
ralty had sent out to reinforce him. This Hay- 
Oeyras-Saunders episode, says Mr. Corbett, has 
" long been forgotten with much else that 
stands to Saunders* credit. But it is well worth 
rescuing from oblivion as a fine example of 
an Admiral weighing with sagacity and ripe 
understanding the political object against the 
purely strategical, and deliberately choosing to 
run the risk of a strategical failure for the 
sake of securing a great and certain political 

It was a move which appealed to the Govern- 
ment at home, though it was in contrast with 
the hesitancy that marked the decisions of 
Bute and most of his colleagues in England. 
The Portuguese themselves were naturally not 
anxious to present Spain with a casus belli. 
So far as Lisbon was concerned the defences 
were soon deemed complete, and in March the 
ships were returned to Saunders with full 
acknowledgments of Portuguese obligations. 

The year brought Sir Charles Saunders no 
opportunity of showing his mettle in one of 


The Great World-Game of Chess 

the big fights which command the attention 
of the historian of war ; a pitched battle would 
have been much less wearing than the dodging 
from Cadiz to the Gut, from the Gut to Toulon, 
from Toulon back again to the Gut and Cadiz, 
according to the information, often wild and 
wholly misleading, which came to him and 
affected his conception of tactical exigencies. 
He knew that he was an essential piece in this 
great game of chess being played on the high 
seas, and in these days when he would be in 
wireless communication with far-flung fleets, 
whose movements would be dependent on 
his vigilant and successful manoeuvring, it 
requires considerable powers of imagination 
to enter into the conditions in which Saunders 
maintained the barrier of the Straits against 
the possible exits and entrances of Spaniard 
and Frenchman. 

But if the year brought him no big engage- 
ment, it brought plenty of exciting and varied 
incident to relieve the pressure of purely 
strategic considerations. There was another 
appeal from Hay that he should do something 
to assist the protection of the Algarve coast ; 
badly as he wanted cruisers for his master 
operations he sent off two or three, at the 
same time telling Hay that the Portuguese 
must form a coast defence flotilla under their 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

protection. 1 He had trouble with so-called 
British privateers fitted out in the Mediterranean 
who behaved, he said, little better than pirates : 
acting under English commissions they had 
hardly an Englishman on board, were generally 
commanded by a Jew or a Genoese, mostly of 
bad character, " to the great disgrace of the 
commissions they bear." They were a worry. 
So was the Emperor of Morocco when he refused 
to export cattle except on onerous terms to 
which Saunders would not agree, little though 
the time was at his disposal for handling such 
matters : the Emperor came to his senses 
when he found Saunders prepared to send to 
Algiers for supplies. 

During the summer, Admiral Hawke was out 
again, this time to direct the movements of 
the expedition which was to transfer troops 
from Belle Isle to Lisbon, and Saunders' 
movements in the neighbourhood of Gibraltar 
were part of the plan which disguised the purpose 
and destination of the force. Plenty of prizes 
came to reward the Admiral and his officers 
and men for their unwearying patience, among 
them the famous treasure-ship Hermione ; within 
twenty-four hours of reaching Cadiz, the 
Hermione was captured by Saunders* cruisers, 
the Active and Favourite. Her cargo realised a 

1 Corbett, England in the Seven Years' War, Vol. ii. 


The Death of Anson 

sum which is said to have given Saunders, 1 
and the captains of the cruisers £65,000 each, 
commissioned officers £13,000 each, and every 
seaman £500. 2 Saunders is said by Clowes to 
have divided his portion with Sir Peircy Brett. 3 
The carriage of this treasure through London 
to the Tower in twenty wagons with the British 
colours flying above the Spanish, and accom- 
panied by bands playing, protected by dragoons, 
and cheered by a prodigious concourse 4 must 
have reminded some at least of the occasion, 
twenty years earlier, when Anson's treasure 
arrived from the Nuestra Senora del Cuba 

For Saunders much of the satisfaction and 
joy of that summer's work must have been 
heavily discounted by a loss to the country at 
large, which he would have felt as a personal 
bereavement, in the death of Lord Anson who, 
for five anxious years, had been at the head 
of the Admiralty. Anson was not spared to 
witness the completion of the war which his 

1 Beatson. 

* Barrow in his Life of Anson says the Active and Favourite 
were Hawke's cruisers, and gives the spoil to Hawke and his 
men. He is obviously wrong, as the Active and Favourite 
were with Saunders. 

8 Social England, Vol. v. 

* Beatson. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

ripe experience, his perfect mastery of all that 
affected the navy, and his splendid co-operation 
with Pitt had done so much to make the un- 
precedented success it was. If, on the one 
hand, it may be said that Anson was fortunate 
in most of the men he was able to call to the 
discharge of the high duties he imposed on 
them, on the other, no small portion of the 
credit they reflected on the country might 
properly be attributed to him. To many of 
them he was naval father : his example inspired 
them, and it has often been pointed out that 
a quite remarkable percentage of the men who 
distinguished themselves on the naval side in 
the struggle with France were among his young 
officers in the voyage round the world. " Many 
of the best men in the navy during the Seven 
Years' War had learnt their first lessons and 
gained invaluable experience during their hard 
service in Anson's exploring squadron " 1 — 
something more than an exploring squadron, 
by the way. 

Among the lieutenants and the midship- 
men, Howe, Keppel, and Saunders became 
First Lords of the Admiralty, and Sir Peircy 
Brett, Sir Peter Denis, the Hon. John Byron, 
Sir Hyde Parker, all attained the rank of 
Admiral and commanded fleets, Sir Peircy Brett 

1 Clowes, Royal Navy. 


Anson s Influence 

becoming a Lord of the Admiralty : x Saumarez 
and Cheap would have done equally well if 
the one had not fallen early in a most promis- 
ing career and the other had not died from his 
hardships soon after he reached England. 
Anson's influence was all the greater because 
whilst his skill and daring as a captain, his 
devotion and resource as an administrator were 
shining examples to his subordinates, his 
humanity and urbanity in war as in peace 
conditions were far in advance of the manners 
and general characteristics of the naval officer 
of the first half of the eighteenth century. He 
won the love as surely as he commanded the 
respect and loyal service of men like Saunders 
and Keppel, and his record is as high 
above that of his immediate predecessors 
as Pitt's above Pelham. 

Spain soon realised that she had made a 
ghastly blunder, and Choiseul that his elaborate 
project for the invasion of England with her 
assistance was unavailing. The activity of the 
English navy on the European coasts was 
matched by Rodney in the West Indies, by 
Pocock who captured Havana, and by others 
in the Philippines. The autumn brought pour- 
parlers for peace, and the struggle of Bute and 
Grenville and Choiseul and the rest over terms, 

1 Barrow, Life of Anson. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

which were ultimately signed in Paris on the 
10th February, 1763. France restored Minorca, 
the loss of which had first called Saunders 
to the Mediterranean with Hawke, and re- 
nounced all claim to Canada in the conquest 
of which Saunders had taken so considerable a 
hand. Bute threw away some of the fruits of 
victory, but the penalty paid by France and 
Spain was so heavy that while Bute went down 
before a storm of popular contempt, the Bourbon 
powers sullenly bided their time to take revenge, 
as they did when Great Britain was at war with 
the American colonies. 

With the peace negotiations at the end of 1762 
Saunders* work at Gibraltar was done ; he 
handed over the command to Sir Peircy Brett 
and left for home on the 7th January, 1763. 
Before his departure he received his Commission 
as Vice-Admiral of the. White, and hoisted his 
flag accordingly. He reached Spithead in the 
Hercules on the 28th January. Magnificent as 
was the work done by the navy during those 
seven years, no individual surely could look 
back upon his contribution to the net result 
with happier consciousness of devoted service 
rendered ; many could point to more dramatic 
achievements, but none to laurels more worthily 
won. He had not had the opportunity "to beat 
armadas" in accordance with Pitt's anticipation 


From the portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds 


Saunders Favourite Dish 

three years before, but that was not his 
fault ; he would have welcomed it had it come 
his way ; he loved " no dish like a French 
ship/' Horace Walpole is reported to have 
said to Mann, but if he did not beat armadas 
in actual fighting he could beat or assist to beat 
the best-laid plans of French and Spanish 
commanders by masterly activity based on 
sound strategy. 


A Brave Statue and an Elegy 

14— (Mil) 

A Brave Statue and an Elegy 

Saunders' Duties and Interests — A New Command — First 
Lord of the Admiralty — Corsica — Falkland's Island — 
Quebec Act — Death — Various Tributes — An Elegy. 

CAUNDERS returned to an England very 
different from that he left three years 
before ; George II and Anson were dead, and 
Pitt no longer had a voice in the Government. 
The country was torn by political faction, with 
Grenville in power and the King resolute in 
his determination to complete the breaking up 
of the Whig ascendency in Parliament and the 
Council Chamber. Saunders was still member 
for Heydon, having been re-elected during his 
absence in 1761. The reformer was clamouring 
for Parliamentary changes which should dis- 
tribute representation more fairly, and allow 
at least the semblance of a choice in elections 
to the man not rich enough to buy boroughs 
for distribution at will. Parliamentary pro- 
ceedings were a farce, and members were more 
than ever the creatures of their patrons. The 
national atmosphere was charged with the dis- 
contents to which we owe Burke's brochure. 
When the Dowager Princess of Wales, on the 
conclusion of the peace, exclaimed, " Now, 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

indeed, my son is King ! " she meant something 
more. She meant that an oligarchy had been 
scotched and autocracy hoped to take its place. 
George III wanted to be absolute master in 
his own realm ; he was, after all, only striving 
to secure the position of constitutional privilege 
for the monarch which the House of Commons 
sought to secure for itself in other respects. 
His efforts to maintain his authority unchal- 
lenged by the Whigs were not more determined 
than the resolution of the Commons to stand 
no nonsense on the part of a Wilkes and to 
resist the ridiculous pretensions to freedom on 
the part of the Press. 

To report the doings of Parliament was 
almost as heinous an offence as sedition itself. 
Democracy, so-called, was not to be born for 
another three-quarters of a century, but the 
nation, supreme at sea, an Empire in every 
sense of the word, was beginning to ask 
why it should not have a larger voice in 
affairs. It is not a little significant that at 
this time, when the claim to an extended fran- 
chise in England was being raised, when the 
people at home, called upon to carry a doubled 
load of national debt, wanted a fuller repre- 
sentation in the Parliament which was to 
deal with the question of ways and means, the 
Government should have decided to introduce 
measures that were to provide the colonists in 


Empire and Democracy 

America with the cry that the Imperial 
authorities were seeking to impose taxation with- 
out representation. What real voice had the 
people at home in the raising and spending of the 
millions which had gone to free the Americans 
of a nightmare greater than any involved in 
GrenvihVs Stamp Act ? 

For a time Saunders would have had enough 
to do to look after his private affairs, to dis- 
charge the incidental duties of his high station 
and to clear up the thousand-and-one little 
matters which demanded attention from the 
Government and the leaders in the late cam- 
paign. Of one of these we get an idea from the 
Privy Council records: — * 

" Order in accordance with the following : — 
"Admiralty memorial of 19 March, 1764. 
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Saunders having trans- 
mitted to Us a petition of Augustine Rabbi, 
a North American French Pilot, Setting forth 
that being a prisoner in England in the month 
of January, 1759, he was sent on Board your 
Majesty's ship Neptune to serve as Pilot for the 
Gulph and River of St. Lawrence ; and that in 
the years 1760 and 1761 he served as pilot on 
board other of your Majesty's ships ; that during 
the Siege of Quebec his house in that town was 
burnt and everything he had there destroyed ; 
that he has had no allowance since August, 
1761, which has obliged him to contract several 

1 Acts of the Privy Council, Colonial Series, 1745-1766. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Debts at Quebec for the support of himself and 
Family ; And Sir Charles Saunders having 
informed Us that this pilot served with him in 
the Neptune during the expedition against 
Quebec and was very serviceable for which Sir 
Charles was authorized to promise him that he 
should be rewarded here ; we beg leave to lay 
this State of the said Rabbi's Case before your 
Majesty, and in consideration of his Services and 
also in regard to his Losses, which are Certified 
by Brigadier General Murray, We do humbly 
propose that a Pension of Five Shillings a Day 
may be allowed him for his future support and 
that the same be placed upon the Ordinary 
Estimate of the Navy." 

In this year, 1764, Saunders was also busy 
with others in seeking to advance his personal 
fortunes. Already a rich man he aimed at 
becoming a landed proprietor beyond the seas. 
On the 9th May there was referred to the 
Committee of the Privy Council " a Memorial 
of Admiral Charles Knowles, Sir Charles 
Saunders, Sir George Brydges Rodney, and 
Richard Spry, Esquire, in behalf of themselves 
and other officers and merchants, humbly 
praying, for the reasons therein contained, 
that a grant may be made of the whole island 
of St. John's to be divided among them by 
lots of 20,000 acres each, the memorialists under- 
taking to make good and fully compleat the 
settlement of that island within the expiration 


An Interesting Memorial 

of ten years." The Committee's response 
was to refer the memorialists severally to the 
Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations. 
The petition appears to have originated with, 
or been specially adopted by, the Earl of 
Egmont on behalf of himself and nine children 
and a great number of land and sea officers for 
a " grant in fee " of the island. In the view of 
the Committee the conditions of settlement and 
tenure proposed were " entirely impolitick, in- 
expedient, and anti-commercial. ,, Hence the 
Earl's memorial was submitted to the Attorney 
and Solicitor-General to report whether any- 
thing in the proposals were " anti-constitutional 
or illegal/ ' and if so to suggest amendments. 
The question, it may here be said, was not 
settled till three years later, when the Com- 
mittee dismissed the petition of Saunders, 
Keppel, and the rest, the rejection, however, 
being without prejudice to applications for 
separate grants on conditions which " the ex- 
perience of former times " had shown to be 
expedient. The Earl of Egmont announced 
that he had no intention to take up land in 
St. John's, but the others made their " separate 
applications/' and in July, 1767, we find " the 
Right Honourable Sir Charles Saunders, Knight 
of the Bath," among those to whom lots were 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Keppel was back from Havana in 1764, and 
from a letter of his to the Marquis of Rocking- 
ham in April the following year, v/e learn that 
Saunders was suddenly appointed to the com- 
mand of a fleet fitted out in apprehension of a 
fresh rupture with France and Spain. Grenville 
was still in office, maintaining an uneasy con- 
test with the King. The Earl of Sandwich 
held Pitt's old portfolio as Secretary of State. 
Sandwich is immortalised first by the indi- 
gestible appeaser of appetite which every rail- 
way buffet is supposed to provide, and second 
by a group in Polynesia which Cook named 
after him. Keppel and Saunders were both 
Rockingham men, and liked the Grenville- 
Sandwich regime as little as did the King. 
Sandwich was a gambler who preferred the 
card-table to the council-board. The trail of 
the partisan serpent, which is over all docu- 
ments of the eighteenth century and makes 
them all suspect, is not wholly accountable 
for the misgivings with which Keppel regarded 
this new appointment of Saunders. x 

" I cannot help owning that my spirits have 
been too much agitated upon the present 
equipment, not for the being out of it myself, 
but for the critical and dangerous situation they 
(the Ministers) have drawn my friend Sir 

1 Life of Keppel. 


Saunders New Appointment 

Charles into. Surely he plunged head over heels 
without considering — I don't mean that the 
King and public were to be deprived of his 
services, but his health was a good and real 
pretence to beg time to consider and at no rate 
to have undertaken the command without 
naming his assistants. ... He writes me word 
he had asked Lord Sandwich to have me with 
him which was answered in the negative. I 
felt, in reading this, more bent for Sir Charles 
than for myself ; for certainly had such an 
offer come to me, I must have found myself 
unequal to a subaltern employment, having 
neither health nor activity equal to it. Besides 
this had I been at my friend's elbow I should 
have said it was making me too cheap mention- 
ing my name for employment to such a man. 
I know the public would think ill of any officer 
that declined improperly his services ; but if 
petitioning for employment is expected I must 
meet and prefer the censure that may belong 
to my pride. 

" I have wrote twice to Sir Charles, wishing him 
health to go through his undertaking. I have 
avoided the question of right or wrong in my 
letters. He has embarked and his spirits must 
be kept up. I could not help mentioning that 

I feared the M s felt pleasure in separating 

us, but that it would not make me more humble. 

' ' My real love for Sir Charles would influence 
me to give up every consideration of my own 
for him, and yet as things are I heartily wish he 
had not mentioned my name. 

"The fleet our friend is put at the head of is, 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

indeed, for its numbers the most respectable 
I ever heard of. It will be a trying matter when 
the time comes. If the orders attending this 
fleet should disgrace the appearance of it, or 
even be doubtful as to its acting, I tremble 
to think of the scrape Sir Charles will have got 
into. I point out nothing of this sort to him. 
He is likely to feel the touch of a bad business 
as soon as myself/ ' 

Nothing came of the new menace, and in 
July Grenville, having paved the way to trouble 
with America by passing the Stamp Act in 
March and involved himself in fresh difficulties 
with the King over the question of the Regency, 
resigned. George III, much as he hated the 
Whigs, had no alternative but the Marquis of 
Rockingham, whose principal contribution to 
eighteenth- century distinction was the intro- 
duction of Burke to London and Parliament. 
In the new administration, Saunders was made 
one of the Lords of the Admiralty, his friend 
Keppel becoming one of the Junior Lords. 
Rockingham repealed the Stamp Act, but saved 
the face of Majesty by a Declaratory Act, 
affirming in effect the right of Parliament to 
do just what he proposed not to do. Maintain 
the principle but reject the practice was Rock- 
ingham's compromise : whereas it was the 
principle as surely as any specific attempt to 
enforce it, to which the Colonies objected. 


In Rockingham s Ministry 

Timorous steps towards conciliation left matters 
pretty much where they were. 

Sir Charles Saunders was certainly as opposed 
as either Rockingham or Pitt to any attempt 
to coerce the Colonies. Rockingham's Govern- 
ment lasted a year ; the King hated its attitude 
on every question, and was anxious as ever 
to prevent any Whig ministry from securing 
real control of affairs. He turned once more 
to Pitt : the great Commoner was not now 
the man physically or mentally he had been : 
his health had broken down, and George III 
felt equal to holding him in check. Pitt 
was induced to undertake the task of forming 
a new Government in August, 1766, the result 
being one of the most extraordinary coalitions 
even in the history of British politics. He 
brought in certain of his own friends and 
agreed to retain as colleagues several of the 
members of Rockingham's Government — among 
them Saunders, who became First Lord of the 
Admiralty and a Privy Councillor, and 

Saunders now filled the office which Anson 
had raised to such distinction, but he filled it in 
very different circumstances. The new ministry 
Burke described as " chequered and speckled : 
a piece of joinery as crossly indented and 
whimsically dovetailed ; a cabinet so variously 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

inlaid \ such a piece of diversified mosaic ; 
such a tesselated pavement without cement ; 
here a bit of black stone and there a bit of 
white ; patriots and courtiers ; King's friends 
and Republicans ; Whigs and Tories ; treacher- 
ous friends and open enemies, that it was, 
indeed, a very curious show, but utterly unsafe 
to touch and unsure to stand on." It was 
not the ministry which Pitt would have got 
together a very few years ago ; to make the 
loosely-knit structure still more unstable, Pitt 
accepted a Peerage, which removed him from 
the Chamber where control was most needed. 
By universal agreement Chatham was not Pitt : 
Parliament and the country treated the eleva- 
tion as a betrayal of them and himself. In 
Chatham died the great Commoner, virtually 
and actually. He was ill, and as the gout 
developed and his authority declined so his 
domineering temper grew. Saunders would 
have shared the general admiration for Pitt, 
the heaven-sent minister who assumed control 
in the hour of the country's greatest need ; 
in Chatham he found an overbearing chief, 
who may well have made him speculate as to 
whether this was the man with whom Anson 
had worked so long. 

Sir Charles Saunders* appointment was the 
occasion of some dissatisfaction among his 


First Lord 

seniors in the service. Sir George Pocock 
instantly wrote to the Admiralty to resign, 
and desired that his name might be struck off 
the list of Admirals. The request was attributed 
to the selection of Sir Charles Saunders as First 
Lord. 1 As head of the Admiralty Saunders 
took the strictest view of his duty, and showed 
himself as unready to be a party to jobs as 
Anson could have been. Newcastle, pastmaster 
in the art of distributing favours in gratitude 
for services rendered or to come, was among 
the first to send the First Lord his warmest 
congratulations, in which there was doubtless 
sincerity, because none could know better than 
Newcastle how well-earned the preferment was. 
" I should," he wrote from Claremont, "not 
deserve the character of a friend of my country 
and to the true and staunch interest of it, if 
I did not extremely rejoice at a disposition 
which I think more material to the honour, 
interest, and safety of this country than any 
other that could be made." 2 The Duke, how- 
ever, was not long in discovering that the 
interests of the country might also be advanced 
by attention to the claims of certain proteges 
of his. But Saunders, eager though he was to 
further the Duke's views, did not see his way to 

1 Sir J. K. Laughton, Dictionary of National Biography 
* Newcastle MSS., British Museum. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

oblige. Among the few letters of his which 
have been preserved, one is an expression of 
regret that he cannot provide a guardship at 
Portsmouth for Captain Holwall, as the Duke 
suggests ; another that he cannot continue 
Captain Webster in command of the Hazard, 
sloop — the first being administratively unwise, 
apparently ; the second against the rules laid 
down by the Board. 1 It must have cost 
Saunders an effort to refuse the Duke's request, 
alike on account of the Duke himself and of 
the men for whom his Grace asked favours. 
Saunders, as an officer in Wolfe's army bore 
witness, 2 was as kind and considerate as he 
was courageous — " a friend of friendless young 
men and a discoverer and rewarder of merit." 
His letters to Newcastle show that in his 
affability was no weakness. 

The ministry was some three months' old 
when Chatham decided to dispense with Lord 
Edgcumbe's services as Treasurer of the House- 
hold : Edgcumbe was one of the Rockingham 
contingent in the Cabinet, and his friends, 
including Saunders and Keppel, took his dis- 
missal as an affront to themselves. Saunders 
was succeeded at the Admiralty by Hawke. 
The following year Chatham was able to take 

Newcastle MSS. 

Doughty, Siege of Quebec, Vol. iii. 


Saunders and Corsica 

comparatively little part in the affairs of his 
Government, and in 1768 he retired, leaving the 
control to the Duke of Grafton. In the General 
Election in May of that year, Saunders was 
" again rechosen representative for the Borough 
of Heydon. ,,1 A question in which he neces- 
sarily took a more lively interest than in the 
Wilkes and Parliamentary reform controversies 
came before Parliament in the shape of the 
future of Corsica. The island belonged to 
Genoa : the Corsicans had risen in revolt, and 
the Genoese sought to escape further trouble 
by selling the island to France. The Corsicans 
were as opposed to being taken over by France 
as to continuing their allegiance to Genoa. In 
England feeling ran strongly on the side of 
the islanders, and that feeling was all the 
stronger from the recognition of the importance 
to a Mediterranean power of such a possession. 
The British Ministry remonstrated with France 
but could not make up its mind to vigorous 
measures ; when France seemed inclined to 
withdraw, England secretly sent the Corsicans 
arms which provoked a decisive conflict ending, 
in May, 1769, in the flight of the Corsican 
General, Paoli, the refugee with whom in later 
years Johnson loved to exchange ideas in 

1 Campbell, Naval History, Vol. v. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

The House of Commons, meanwhile, had 
adopted the view attributed to Lord Mans- 
field, who was then in Paris : Corsica was not 
worth a war. France took advantage of the 
half-heartedness of the British Government. 
Even Burke was moved to exclaim : " Corsica 
a province of France is terrible to me." L In 
the House of Commons only one member, 
according to Mahon, was willing plainly to 
tell the Government that " it would be better 
to go to war with France than consent to her 
taking possession of Corsica/ ' That member 
was Saunders. In November, 1768, he assured 
the House that he did not object to treating 
with France on the question, but he would 
have a fleet in Corsican waters at the same 
time. " The island will be a nest of privateers : 
it will ruin our trade in the Mediterranean." 
A little later he again warned Parliament of 
the consequences which the taking of Corsica 
by France must involve. He was convinced 
the peaceful acceptance of French action could 
be of no possible advantage to Great Britain, 
and he added, " I have never thought that 
the French began war with this country without 
shuddering. We ought to get a number of men 
ready upon the first notion of a war." 2 

1 Mahon, History of England, Vol. v. 

• Cavendish, Debates of the House of Commons. 


France takes Corsica 

Saunders 1 counsel went unheeded, with dire 
results. Mightier events even than he anti- 
cipated were to flow from the acquisition 
of Corsica. In 1769 the island was formally 
annexed by France : on the 15th August 
of that year Laetitia Romolino, the young 
and beautiful wife of Carlo Buonaparte, gave 
birth to the most remarkable man who was 
ever born a French subject. Could the most 
mechanical constructor of the most approved 
melodrama evolve a coincidence more striking 
than the birth, in the very year of its acqui- 
sition, of a Corsican who was one day to rule 
France and to overrun Europe with his armies ? 
It was Destiny, and interesting as they may 
be, all speculations as to what might have 
happened had Saunders' views prevailed are 
futile. All we can say is, had France not taken 
Corsica from the Genoese against the wishes 
of the Corsicans themselves, the history of 
France and of the world would have been 

Difficulties as to another island in which 
Saunders had more than a passing concern 
cropped up in 1770 : this time it was Falkland's 
Island, as it was called, one of the islands in 
the South Atlantic, the strategic importance of 
which was first recognised when the record of 
Anson's voyage came to be duly weighed. 


13— (3318) 

Life of Admiral Saunders 

Saunders may possibly have seen the Falkland 
Islands, or been in actual touch with them, 
during his early days in command of the Tryal. 
They were taken possession of by Byron in 
1764 and a small British settlement had been 
made. Spain learnt nothing from the lesson 
of 1762, and news reached England in June, 
1770, that the Governor of Buenos Ayres had 
seized the islands. Only when England showed 
that she was prepared to go to war did the 
Spanish Governor climb down. Saunders was 
very irate, and saw the hand of France in this 
action of Spain. He said little in a first speech 
on the subject in the House of Commons, lest 
strong words should work mischief, but he 
asked for information as to the steps the 
Government had taken in adopting " necessary 
preparations without delay/' as the King's 
speech stated. 

In a second speech Saunders was sarcastic 
at the expense of Hawke who, as head of the 
Admiralty, spoke confidently of the readiness 
and strength of the navy. Saunders — now 
Admiral of the Blue — saw no evidence of it, and 
expressed his conviction — a conviction which 
time was to justify — that Spain and France 
only needed the opportunity to " fall upon 
England at a moment when we should not 
have a friend in the world to move a little 


Saunders Views on Spain 

finger for us." x In a note of the affair and the 
attitude adopted by His Majesty's Government, 
given by another chronicler, we read 2 that 
" Sir Charles Saunders, in a very short speech, 
made a sensible observation which struck the 
House exceedingly." 

"He said the address was an approbation of 
the general conduct of Ministers. He thought 
it would be great impropriety to agree to such an 
address before inquiry into the conduct of 
Ministers was made. The inquiry should pre- 
cede the approbation. Therefore he thought 
the Captains of the Tamer and Favourite sloops 
should be brought to the bar to give the House 
an account of the proceedings of the Spaniards 
at Falkland's Island and what information they 
gave the Ministers relative to the affair." 

In so many words Saunders was not pre- 
pared to give ministers credit for a transaction 
as to which he was informed only through their 
own words. The next year, when 157 members 
voted in approval of the Spanish declaration 
on the subject, we find the name of Keppel 
but not of Saunders among them. We have, 
therefore, no means of knowing what his ulti- 
mate views were. So far as we can gather he 
and Keppel saw eye to eye in most things and 

i Ibid. 

1 Parliamentary History, Vol. xvi. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

went into the same lobby on all questions. In 
1772, when Lord North was in power and Lord 
Sandwich was again Secretary of State, the 
navy, according to Mr. Lucas 1 — and the evi- 
dence that he is right is ample — was in a bad 

Notwithstanding the critical times, with the 
ever-present possibility of a new war with 
France or Spain or both, and the deepening 
resentment of the American colonies, the fleet 
was not maintained in a state of efficiency 
such as, it might have been thought, the Seven 
Years' War had shown was necessary. Mr. 
Lucas, oracle-like, says the sailors in Parlia- 
ment must share responsibility with North and 
Sandwich : — 

"In 1772 when there was a Menace of war, 
two Admirals in Parliament, Keppel and Sir 
Charles Saunders, opposed an increase of 
strength. If Walpole is to be believed they 
confessed as sailors they could object, as poli- 
ticians they would not approve. In the more 
sober pages of the Parliamentary History (Jan. 
29, 1772), we find the two Admirals reported 
together as condemning the naval demonstra- 
tion of the Government on two grounds. There 
was need for more men, and modern naval 
critics will be interested to hear that they 
committed themselves to the policy of skeleton 

1 Lucas, Life of Lord North. 


The State of the Fleet 

crews. ' Let us be provided with ships/ they 
said, ' emergency crews can always be supplied 
by the agency of impressment.' Next year 
Saunders is reported to have said to some 
members of Parliament : ' I hope there will be 
some motion made that I may go down to the 
House and vote against the Administration. 
I shall go to Portsmouth on Thursday and will 
hoist my flag and go into my ship and never 
stir out of it while I stay in England. . . . 
If I sail it will be war/ Than, which, says 
Mr. Lucas, it is difficult to imagine a more 
contradictory and suicidal state of mind." 

I agree, and agree so emphatically that I 
do not believe the Walpole story at all, any 
more than I believe much on like authority 
that passes for history simply because it is an 
entertaining contemporary chronicle. Posterity 
may see in such reports ample excuse for the 
agitation in favour of the freedom of the Press. 
At least when men's words can be reported by 
the stenographer, whose record is as trust- 
worthy as that of the camera, we are on surer 
ground than that provided by gossip which at 
best is second-hand and subject to memory's 

Chatham's illness and political differences 
have often been described, and in colours which 
convey the impression of a sufferer at war 
with half the men with whom or through 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

whom he had worked in happier and more 
glorious days. The circumstances in which 
Sir Charles Saunders left the Ministry in 1766 
might suggest that he and Chatham were per- 
sonally antipathetic if not actually antagonistic. 
A letter from the Admiral disposes effectually 
of this idea. Chatham, in 1772, desired to 
have Saunders' portrait to hang in the ball- 
room at Burton Pynsent with his own and 
Lady Chatham's, Lord Temple's, the Marquis of 
Granby's, and Admiral Boscawen's. Saunders* 
letter to the Earl 1 is a nice index to the man's 
character : — 

" Spring Gardens, 
" mh Dec, 1772. 
"My Lord, 

" You have put a plain seaman under great 
difficulties. I assure you I find it a great deal 
harder to make a proper answer to your Lord- 
ship's civilities than to execute any order I ever 
received from you. 

"Your Lordship has made an exchange with 
me that I am a gainer by in every way. You 
have my picture, and I will keep your Lordship's 
letter as a thing I am at least as proud of as a 
mark I wear of the King's approbation of the 
services I meant to do in that time which was 
truly glorious ; because the best and ablest 
men in the Kingdom were then united in the 
service of their country. 

1 Correspondence of Chatham, Vol. iv. 


Saunders and Liberty 

" When your Lordship has furnished your room 
with the pictures you propose, your children 
will have as many monuments as there are 
pictures there of the wisdom and spirit of their 
father that encouraged so many worthy actions. 
My share was the least in them, though my 
reward is the greatest in your Lordship's 
partiality and friendship. 

" I am the more pleased with your thinking me 
a friend to liberty than with all the rest. I am 
so to the bottom, and you may depend upon it. 
I think a country can have no glory without it, 
and I have always been happy whenever I could 
act under your Lordship for the support of it. 

" I am, with greatest respect and esteem, 
"Your Lordship's most obed*- and most 
obliged humble servant, 

"Charles Saunders." 

Saunders described himself as peculiarly 
pleased to be thought " a friend of liberty." 
With Keppel doubtless he had anxious thoughts 
as to what he would do if war with the Colonies 
came and he was called upon to fight them. 
What line he would have taken we may judge 
for ourselves : as to what his action would have 
been when Frenchman and Spaniard cut in to 
take their revenge there can be no two opinions. 
But he was spared the ordeal. Like Chatham 
he suffered from gout. Keppel, writing to 
Rockingham from Bath in March, 1773, said : 
" Poor Sir Charles has had a bad time of it." 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Later he hopes for public tranquillity, and that 
" my friend, Sir Charles, may make use of the 
time to re-establish his health." The Admiral, 
in the 1774 Election, stood as a candidate for 
Yarmouth, but was beaten, and for the fourth 
time was elected for Hey don. Whatever the 
state of his health — and judging from Keppel's 
correspondence it was not good — Saunders was 
active in the House of Commons during this year. 
He spoke several times in committee on 
the Bill for the better government of Quebec 
— the Bill which, by securing the French 
Canadian in all that was promised him, as to 
his own laws and language, gave deep offence 
to the British alike on the St. Lawrence, the 
Hudson, and the Delaware. Though Sir Charles 
Saunders did not altogether like the measure, 
he confined himself to speaking on that part 
of it which related to the fishery. He feared 
that giving fishing rights to Canada would 
encourage French participation in the captures 
off the Labrador coast to the detriment of 
England. He emphasised the importance of 
the fisheries as a training-ground for seamen 
and wanted to see " the liberty of fishing " 
remain under the inspection of the Governor 
of Newfoundland. " Give up the fishery, you 
will lose your breed of seamen, and I know no 
way that the country has of breeding seamen 


The AdtniraPs Last Utterance 

but two : one the fishery, and the other the 
coasting trade. Sir, the fishery is worth more 
to you than all the possessions you have put 
together. Without that policy your possessions 
are not safe, nor are you safe in your own 
country. Instead of doing anything to hurt 
your fishery new methods should be begun to 
rear more seamen. God knows how much you 
will find the want of seamen whenever this 
country finds it necessary to equip its fleets." 
That does not look as though there was much 
in Mr. Lucas's suggestion that Admiral Saunders 
was a party to the policy which neglected the 

A good deal of sympathy was expressed with 
Saunders' view, but Lord North and his col- 
leagues considered his fears unfounded, and 
the clause was carried as introduced. This is 
the last public utterance I can trace of Admiral 
Saunders. His health was gradually but surely 
failing, and he died from gout in the stomach 
on the 7th December, 1775 : he lived just long 
enough to learn that the great work he and 
Wolfe had begun with the conquest of Quebec, 
had been thrown into the melting-pot by the 
American revolt. 

That the death of Sir Charles Saunders was 
genuinely felt to be a real loss to the country 
is proved by various tributes. Burke and 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Hartley both pronounced eulogies on him in 
Parliament ; Horace Walpole spoke of him as 
" that brave statue." " Admiral Saunders," 
he said, " was a pattern of most steady bravery 
united with most unaffected modesty. No man 
said less or deserved more. Simplicity in his 
manner, generosity and good nature adorned 
his genuine love of his country." Hartley, 
speaking on the proposals for the pacification 
of America, referred to his death in especially 
sympathetic terms. " This day," he said, " is 
marked by one of the greatest losses that this 
country can sustain in the death of a great 
naval commander who has carried the Empire 
of the British flag to the highest point of glory : 
a name well known to America, not only on 
our common element the ocean, but as an 
earnest and zealous friend of the constitutional 
and civil rights of America. Though an indi- 
vidual may feel the loss of a private friend in 
him, yet that is buried in the public loss. He 
was every man's friend. He was a friend to his 
country and only for himself may his death 
be thought happy, in this, at least, that he has 
not outlived the glories of his country which 
was the anxiety of his latest hours : neither 
will his memory outlive its just and constant 
tribute of veneration and gratitude from every 
part of our dominions." 


Tributes to Saunders 

How near memory has been to doing just 
what Hartley predicted as out of the question 
we know. Saunders was buried privately in 
the Abbey close to the monument to Wolfe, 
" who had been his noble associate in war, his 
compeer in gallantry, but from the untimely 
fate of the General, not in fortune." 1 He lies 
with the nation's great ones, and a recent 
chronicler says that a vacant seat awaits him 
among the immortals. 2 

Not the least notable of the tributes paid 
to him was an Elegy written by the Rev. 
Robert English, Chaplain to the Twelfth Regi- 
ment of Foot and to Admiral Lord Hawke. 
It was published in 1777, and was dedicated 
to Hawke in these terms : — 

"The high sense you have entertained of the 
friendship, generosity and magnanimity of Sir 
Charles Saunders and his distinguished gallantry 
in the first war when he fought under your 
Lordship's immediate observation and com- 
mand naturally lead me, exclusive of the dictates 
of Personal Duty, to introduce this Elegy to the 
public view under the shelter of your protecting 

" As the history of your Lordship's life is filled 
with Achievements glorious to the British flag, 
it is with obvious propriety that I have presum'd 

1 Charnock, Biographic Navalis, Vol. v. 

1 Callender, Sea Kings of Britain, Albemarle to Hawke. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

to inscribe to your Lordship this humble but 
zealous attempt to celebrate the memory of a 
great Admiral of fame and character so similar 
to your own." 

The Elegy is not great poetry, but it has at 
least the merit of throwing some light on the 
character and work of a man too little known 
by posterity. Such a tribute would hardly 
have been written, it certainly would not have 
been published, with the approval of Lord 
Hawke, if it had not some better raison d'etre 
than verse turned out to order by the unin- 
spired laureate retainer. If here and there a 
line is merest doggerel, the personal and patriotic 
sentiment animating the whole justifies Mr. 
English's efforts. I give it at length : — 

Elegy on the Death of Sir C. Saunders 

How vain the transient scene of pomp and praise 

A glaring Meteor with delusive rays I 

See ! Spoils of war, from earth and ocean borne ! 

The Pageant closes with the Victor's Urn 

Swift from our birth th' impatient moments run, 

Eager to ruin what they've just begun : 

As black'ning storms o'erwhelm the careless day, 

While sunshine glitters, and soft zephyrs play, 

Fate oft with raven wing comes sweeping on ; 

E're well our fears awake, our hopes are gone : 

Nor Indian mines can gain, nor scepter'd power 

The poor addition of a fleeting hour. 

In life's gay dawn Saunders exalted shone, 

Crown'd with fair garlands from Iberia won, 


An Elegy 

When renown'd Anson led his conqu'ring Train 
Round the vast circle of the wond'ring Main ; 
More than fam'd Argo's Fleece repaid their toil ; 
A nobler Task deserv'd a richer Spoil. 

Time's lib'ral Hand still brighter wreaths bestow'd 
The stream of fame collecting as it flow'd. 
So Dian's Crescent gathers new supply 
'Till her Full Orb beams on th' enraptur'd Eye. 

Quebec surveyed from her astonish'd shore, 
The ceaseless toils th' intrepid Hero bore, 
And conscious Biscay's oft empurpled wave 
Resounds th' applause consenting Nations gave. 
How chang'd the flatt'ring scene ! great, gen'rous, brave, 
He falls a victim to the gloomy Grave ; 
Heroic as he liv'd, resigns his breath. 
Nor fear'd, in Virtue clad, unconquerable Death. 
The Muse, that dwelt delighted on his name, 
Proud to attend him through the tract of Fame, 
Droops into Elegy's complaining verse 
And hangs a weeping Tribute on his Herse. 
Oft let her wander through the cloister'd shade 
Where her lov'd Hero's breathless corse is laid ; 
There from Earth's tumult an asylum find 
While sacred silence aids the pensive mind ; 
There boasting Columns, trophied Busts survey, 
Of Kings and Heroes mixed with kindred clay, 
Whilst all around tremendous Lessons flow 
And lift the soul from Vanity and Woe ; 
There let her meditate time's ebbing streams, 
With bright Eternity's celestial beam, 
Learn to fulfil Life's Duties as they rise, 
With every vow directed to the skies. 

Ye Britons 1 to merit ever just 
Be yours the care to guard his honour'd Dust ! 
Thou solemn cypress, wave thy shade around, 
Ye cir'cling Palms ! protect the hallow'd ground. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

Though mild in manners, friend to social laws 
Fierce, as the Pard, in Britain's injur'd Cause ; 
Ambitious then, he courted War's Alarms, 
Flying on wings of Victory to Arms. 
The Winds conveyed him with attentive care, 
And whisper'd glory to his ravish'd Ear ; 
With soul elate he plough'd the foaming tide, 
With Albion's happy Genius for his Guide, 
And twice the Gaul in gallant fight o'erthrown, 
Rescu'd his Country's Fame and fix'd his Own. 

In various life his ev'ry action show'd, 
The source unsullied, whence the current flow'd : 
In rage of war, resistless and severe ; 
Yet temp'ring Mercy dried the Captive's tear, 
His kind complacency asswag'd his pains, 
And wretches bless'd him while they dragg'd his chains. 
Fix'd as a Rock on Glory's tow'ring feat ; 
In vain the envious Billows round him beat, 
Wafting their fretful fury at his feet. 
Of Worth confirm'd, in Arduous IEtz. tried, 
Keppel's congenial friend, and smiling Ocean's pride. 

Keppel ! On whom th' Heroic virtues wait, 
Call'd by the General voice to save the State ; 
T' assert the empire of the azure Field, 
And teach the restless Gaul again to yield ; 
Or seek in blushing flight, his Covert shore 
Dreading the scourge so lately felt before. 

This verse th' admiring Muse to Keppel owes, 
The Muse who saw him crush invading Foes, 
When Laurel'd Hawke on Bourbon's frighted shore 
Added new Trophies to his splendid Store. 
No more shall Rome unrivall'd triumphs boast ; 
In British deeds her ancient name is lost ; 
Her Palms transplanted to this gen'rous Isle 
Spread nobler branches in a happier soil. 


Smiling Oceans Pride 

Fain would the Muse t'inspiring Theme pursue, 
A train of Heroes rising to her view, 
But fears the daring Cretan's fate to try ; 
Too bright the object, and the flight too high. 

Ye British Bards ! in plaintive numbers tell, 
Stopt in Fame's full career how Saunders fell ; 
Show him inviolate in Senate found, 
Midst storms of State rooted on Public Ground ; 
Show radiant tints circling his Evening Sun, 
His race of Glory finish'd, as begun. 

Though early lost in this tempestuous Clime, 
His name disdains the ruthless wreck of Time : 
His bright Example Britain's sons shall warm, 
Whilst Courage can inspire, or Honour Charm, 
Shall shine propitious in th' Aonian Page, 
A Guiding Star to the remotest age ; 
When the proud Fane, * which now affects the skies, 
Unfaithful to his Urn, in awful ruin lies. 

Go, Happy Shade, where pure enjoyments flow ! 
Be blest above, for gen'rous Acts below 1 
Through seas aethereal, Life's rude voyage o'er, 
Thou gainst at length an hospitable shore : 
Conflicting passions shall no more controul ; 
Sooth'd ev'ry care, and harmoniz'd the Soul. 

Brunswick he lov'd and his Auspicious Line ; 
Yet sacred Freedom mark'd him at her Shrine. 
His Star, an emblem of sublime Desert, 
Shone with reflected lustre from his Heart ; 
Truth, Honour, Valour, with united rays, 
Inflam'd each honest breast with ardent praise, 
Blaz'd his renown to Earth's extreme domains, 
Where smiles Aurora, and where Hesper reigns, 
Where glows the brilliant Zone, where freeze the Poles, 
Far as the winds can range, or Britain's Thunder rolls. 

Westminster Abbey. 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

It is matter for profound regret that so little 
can be traced on the purely personal side con- 
cerning Sir Charles Saunders. Enough has, 
I hope, been told to prove that his great qualities 
as a sailor have in no way been exaggerated by 
the general historians' necessarily briefer 
chronicle : his character as a man may be 
gleaned from Anson's devotion to him ; from 
his friendship with Keppel ; from what Walpole, 
Hartley, and others said of him. We know 
little or nothing of his immediate family sur- 
roundings. If one may judge from his Will, 
dated as late as 1773, his chief attachment 
was Admiral Keppel, who appears to have 
been more to him than his relatives. As 
his Will contains no reference to his wife 
or any of her family, we get no enlighten- 
ment from that lengthy and involved legal 
document ; the only relatives included in his 
bequests are his sister Ann, the wife of Peter 
Kinsey ; his nephew Charles, son of Ann, 
and his niece Jane, who is wrongly described 
throughout the Will as Ann. The mistake may 
have been the lawyers', but it is strange it 
escaped the eye of the Admiral ; and it goes 
to suggest that he was not very familiar with 
his sister's children. His principal trustees were 
Sir Hugh Palliser and Timothy Brett. Accord- 
ing to the biographer of Admiral Keppel, 


Last Will and Testament 

Saunders gave Keppel a legacy of £5,000, with 
an annuity of £1,200, and included him first 
in the entail of all his property in case either 
of his nieces (then unmarried) should die with- 
out issue. I cannot quite reconcile that with 
the document itself. There is reference to only 
one niece ; and, so far as I can make out, he 
left Keppel £1,200 a year; Charles Kinsey 
£200 a year, subject to the payment first of 
Keppel's £1,200; and his niece, £10,000. 
Keppel was his first consideration. That apart, 
the chief item of interest to be gathered from 
the Will is the information as to his property. 
He lived in Spring Gardens, in London; but 
his " manors, lands, and messuages' ' were in 
Norfolk and Suffolk. They were situate at 
Fishley, Upton, and elsewhere in the Hundreds 
of South Walsham, and in the parishes of 
Stokesby Thrigby, Runham, and elsewhere. 


16— («ai8) 


Wolfe's Last Orders 


The final touches to the naval part of the 
" immortal story " of Quebec are contained in 
the " Extracts from Wolfe's Last Orders/' 
given by Major Wood in The Logs of the 
Conquest of Canada (pp. 155-8): — 

12th Sept. At anchor at Cape Rouge. The 
troops on shore, except the 
Light Infantry and Ameri- 
cans, are to be upon the 
beach to-morrow morning at 
5 o'clock in readiness to re- 
embark. The Light Infantry 
and Americans will embark 
at 8 o'clock. The detachts. 
of Artillery are to be put on 
board the armed sloops this 

The troops are to hold themselves in readiness 
to land and attack the enemy ; as the Leostaff 
and the Squirrel, frigates, are ordered to follow 
the flat-bottomed boats, the troops belonging 
to these ships are to remain in them. 

Distribution of the Flat-bottom' d Boats 
to Embark Troops 

r To take in 50 men each of 
Bragg' s regt. out of the Ann 
Elizabeth transport instead 
of Amherst's 


Stirling Castle .2 
Dublin . . .3 
Alcide . . .1 

Life of Admiral Saunders 


Trident . 


Medway . 

To take in Kennedy's out of 
the Emplo'nt trans' t 

To take in Col. Howe's corps 
of Light Infantry out of the 
Eden and Mary trans' t 

To take in Anstruther's out 
of the George 

To take in Lascelles' regt. in 
5 boats out of the Ward, and 
fifty of the Royal Am'n. 
Grens. in the sixth boat 

The remains to be taken into the boats of the 
fleet, two hundred Highlanders of which Cap- 
tain Leslie's schooner takes 50 from the Ann 
Elizabeth. The remaining 150 Highlanders in 
the Ward transport will be taken in by the 
following boats — 

Sutherland's long-boat . . .40 

Alcide's 40 

Medway's 40 

Admiral's flat-boat . . . .15 
Sutherland's cutter . . . .15 



Ships that carry Troops immediately after 
the Flat-bottomed Boats 

Leostaff, Frigate . 
Sea Horse . 
Hunter, Sloop . 
Three Armed Sloops 

300 of Amherst's Regt. 
240 of Louisbourg Grens. 
250 Highlanders. 
120 do. 
200 of Light Infantry. 



Laurel, Transport . . 400 Royal Americans. 
Adventure , Transport . 400 Otway's. 

Ordinance Vessel with tools and Artillery men. 

150 Highlanders to be removed from the 
George transport into the Sea Horse frigate. 
100 Highlanders to be removed from the Ann 
Elizabeth transport into the Sea Horse to- 
morrow morning after re-embarcation of the 
first body of troops from Brigar. Monckton's 

Order of the Troops in the Line 
of Boats 
no. of boats. 

8 1st Light Infantry lead. 
6 2 Bragg's Regt. 

4 3 Kennedy's. 

5 4 Lascelles'. 

6 5 Anstruther's. 

1 Flat, and Men-of- War's boat's detach't. of 
Highlanders. Total, 30 Flat-bottom'd 
and the American Grens. 

Captain Shad has received the Genl.'s direc- 
tions in respect to the order in w'ch. the troops 
move and are to land, and no officer must 
attempt to make the least alteration or interfere 
with Capt. Shad's particular province, least as 
the boats move in the night there be confusion 
and disorder among them. 

The troops will go into the boats about 
9 o'clock to-morrow night, or when it is pretty 
near high water ; but the naval officers com- 
mandg. the different divisions of boats, will 


Life of Admiral Saunders 

apprize them of the fittest time to land. As 
there will be a necessity for remaining some part 
of the night in the boats, the officers will pro- 
vide accordingly, and the soldiers shall have 
a gill of rum extraordinary mixed with their 

Arms, ammunition, and 2 days' provisions, 
with their rum and water, is all the soldiers are 
to take in their boats. Their ships, with their 
blankets, tents, necessarys, and so forth will 
soon be up. 


1st. For the flat-bottom' d boats with the 
troops on board to rendezvous a- 
breast of the Sutherland, between 
her and the South shore, keeping 
near. 1 Light in the Sutherland's 

2nd. When they are to drop away from the 
Sutherland, she will shew two lights in 
the main-top-mast-shrouds, one over 
the other. 

The men are to be quite silent, and when they 
are about to land, must not upon any account 
fire out of the boats. 

The officers of the navy are not to be inter- 
rupted in their part of duty ; they will receive 
their orders from the officer appointed to 
superintend the whole, to whom they are 

Officers of Artillery and detachments of 
gunners are put on board the armed sloops to 



regulate their fire, that in the hurry our troops 
may not be hurt by our Artillery. Captain York 
and the officers will be particularly careful to 
distinguish the enemy and to point their fire 
against them. 

The frigates will not fire till broad day light, 
so that no mistake can be made. 

The officers commanding the floating bat- 
teries will receive particular orders from the 

The troops to be supplied to-morrow with 
provisions to the 14th. 



Acapulco, 38, 39, 41 
Achilles, the, 169-70 
Active, the, 190 
Aiskell, Francis, 68 
Algarve Coast, 189 
Algiers, 157, 190 
Amherst, Sir Geoffrey, 6, 95, 

96, 118, 125, 126 
Anna, the, 26, 27, 33 
Anson, Commodore, 1, 8, 16, 

17-28, 33, 35, 36, 38-41, 

43-47, 58, 63, 64, 87, 88, 

93, 175, 177, 191, 192, 193, 

Arranzazu, Capture of the, 

Austrian Succession, War of, 

7, 51 

Balchen, Sir John, 54 
Barbary, 72-75, 157, 183 
Barre, Major, 130, 132 
Bell, Captain, 129 
Belle Isle, 166, 190 
Bland's Regiment, 17 
Bompart, Mons., 101 
Boscawen, Admiral, 6, 114, 

147, 153, 158, 164, 218 
Bouffon, the, 169, 170 
Bougainville, 101, 113 
Bourbon intrigues, 161, 164, 

175, 194 
Brett, Sir Peircy, 188, 191, 

192, 194 
Brett, Timothy, 9, 61, 228 
Bristol, Earl of, 164, 183 
Brodrick, Admiral, 153 
Buonaparte, birth of 

Napoleon, 213 

Burke, 206, 207, 212, 221 
Bute, Lord, 161, 175, 188, 

Byng, 2, 65, 83, 85 
Byron, Hon. John, 192, 214 

Cadiz, 176, 177, 180-187 
Cargo of courage, a, 65 
Carleton, Col., 1, 100, 101 
Carliels, the, 14 
Caskett, Lieut. Robt., 85 
Centurion, the voyage of 

the, 16-47, 65 ; at Quebec, 

100, 127, 130, 131, 134- 

Chatham (see Pitt), 1, 208, 

210, 217, 218, 219 
Cheque tan, 39 
Choiseul Schemes, 185, 193 
Clowes, Mr., 13, 89 
Conflans, Admiral, 145, 146 
Cook, Captain, 115, 131, 132, 

Corbett, Mr. Julian, 3, 89, 

97, 149, 183, 188 
Corsica, 70, 82, 212, 213 

De la Clue, Admiral, 82, 

83, 84, 86, 153, 159 
Democracy and Empire, 200- 

Denis, Sir Peter, 192 
Duquesne, Marquis, 83-85, 

Du Revest, M., 70, 82 
Durell, Rear-Admiral, 94, 95, 

97-104, 112, 113, 119, 126, 




Eagle, the, 55, 56-57, 59, 60 
Edgcumbe, Lord, 210 
Egmont, Earl of, 203 
Elliot, Captain, 67 
English's Elegy on Saunders, 

Falkland Islands, 213-214 
Fireships, 118, 122, 123 
Fishery, importance of, 220- 

Fleet marriages, 61-63 
Foudroyant, the, 83-85, 86 
Frederick of Prussia, 160 
French designs on England, 

52, 64, 153, 166, 185, 193 

Gardiner, Capt., 83-85 
George II, 9, 63, 80, 160, 199 
George III, 160-161, 199, 200, 

Gloucester, the, 18-20, 25-28, 

33, 38, 40-43, 44 
Grafton, Duke of, 211 
Grenville, 193, 199, 201, 204, 


Hankerson, Capt., 112 

Hardwicke, Lord, 87, 146, 

Hardwicke's Marriage Act, 

Hartley, 222, 223, 228 

Hawke, Rear- Admiral Ed- 
ward, 1, 2, 6, 54, 55, 56, 
58, 59, 65, 66, 87, 88, 102, 
114, 145, 146, 147, 153, 
190, 194, 210, 214, 223, 

Hay, Hon. Edward, 167, 185, 
187, 188, 189 

Hermione, the, 191 

Holmes, Rear-Admiral , 88, 
94, 97-99, 100, 137, 138, 
Huck-Saunders, 14 
Hughes, Lieut., 33, 39, 41 

Islip Chapel, 3 

Jervis, Captain, 5, 120 
Juan Fernandez, 23-28 
Johnson, Doctor, 154, 211 

Keppel, Admiral, 9, 16, 58, 
61, 166, 192, 193, 204, 206, 
210, 215, 216, 219, 220, 228, 
Killick, Master, 116, 117 
Kinnoul, Lord, 159 
Kinsey, Peter, 14, 228 
Knox quoted, 115-117 

Laughton, Sir John, 13, 15 
L'Etenduere, 55 
Louisbourg, 70, 95, 98, 99, 
106, 114, 126 

Macao, 45-47 
Mahan, Admiral, 4, 60 
Mansfield, Lord, 212 
Mas a Fuero, 26-27 
Marseilles, Saunders on, 

Michell, Capt. Mathew, 40 
Minorca, 65, 182, 194 
Monckton, General, 122, 141, 

Montcalm, General, 101, 137, 

141, 148 
Monmouth, the, 84, 85 
Mordaunt, Sir John, 6 



Morocco, Emperor of, 72, 80, 

Murray, Brigadier-General, 


Neptune, the, 97, 103, 104 ; 

pilot's claim, 201 
Newcastle, Duke of, 160, 

Norris, Sir John, 52 
North, Lord, 2, 216, 221 
Notre Dame de la Rosarie, 168, 

Nuestra Senora del Caba 

Donga, 47 
Nuestra Senora del Carmela, 

28, 33, 36, 41 
Nuestra Senora del Carmine, 

37, 41 
Nuestra Senora del Monte 

Carmelo, 28, 33, 36, 41 
Nuestra Senoro del Socoro, 

20, 23 

Oeyras, Portuguese Minister, 

Osborne, Vice-Admiral, 79, 


Palliser, Captain, 140, 157, 
158, 159, 162, 164; Sir 
Hugh, 228 
Parker, Sir Hyde, 192 
Payta, attack on, 9, 36, 37, 38 
Pitt, William, 65, 87, 93, 95, 
97, 98, 153-154, 159-161, 
207, 208 {see Chatham) ; 
Saunders to, 121-128, 140- 
143, 145-146; Wolfe to, 
Pizarro, 18, 21, 28 
Plymouth, the, 51-52 

Pocock, Sir George, 193, 209 
Portugal, 158, 159, 185, 187 
Prince, the, 63, 64 

Quebec Basin, 113, 138 
Quebec Expedition, 93 et seq. 
Quiberon, 146 

Rochefort Expedition, 6 
Rockingham, Marquis of, 204, 

206, 207 
Rodney, Admiral, 1, 51, 55, 

57, 59, 88, 193, 202 
Rous, Capt., 121, 123 

Saffee, Prince of, 72-75, 81 
Sandwich, Earl of, 204, 205, 

Santa Teresa de Jesus, 36 
Sapphire, the, 52, 53, 54 
Saumarez, Capt., 9, 20, 57, 

61, 193 
Saunders, Captain Ambrose, 

Saunders, Sir George, 13, 14 
Saunders, Admiral Sir Charles, 
and the 18th century, 2 ; 
portraits of, 3 ; Westmin- 
ster Abbey, 3, 223 ; influ- 
ence on the navy ; Ttirth 
and parentage, 13-14 ; en- 
ters navy, 15 ; Anson's 
first lieutenant, 16 ; captain 
of the Tryal, 19 ; rounding 
the Horn, 21-22; Juan 
Fernandez, 23 ; the Tryal' s 
Prize, 33-35; Payta, 37- 
38 ; Acapulco and Cheque- 
tan, 39 ; destroying prizes, 
41 ; the Centurion alone 
left of the squadron, 43 ; 
Saunders returns to 



Saunders (contd.) — 

England from Macao with 
despatches, 46 ; with Sir 
John Norris, 52 ; with 
Hawke in the battle off 
Cape Finisterre, 54 ; the 
Yarmouth's part, 55-58 ; 
Member for Plymouth, 61 ; 
marriage, 61 ; attitude to- 
ward fleet marriages, 61- 
62-3 ; Member for Heydon 
and Treasurer, Greenwich 
Hospital, 1754, 63 ; comp- 
troller of the Navy, 1755, 
and Commander of the 
Prince, 63 ; as Rear- 
Admiral of the Blue, 1756, 
accompanies Hawke to 
supersede Byng, 65 ; the 
Mediterranean command, 
66 ; du Revest escapes 
west, 68-70 ; trouble with 
the Moors, 72-76 ; Vice- 
Admiral Osborne takes over 
the command, 79 ; Os- 
borne's tribute, 85; return to 
England, 89 ; Commander- 
in-Chief in the St. Law- 
rence, 94 ; Vice- Admiral of 
the Blue, 98 ; difficulties at 
the start, 100-102 ; up the 
St. Lawrence, 111-117; 
attempting to pass Quebec, 
120-121, 129; attack on 
Beauport and controversy 
as to the part played by the 
boats, 130-134 ; the battle 
of 13th September, 1759, 
and Wolfe's death, 139- 
140 ; on way home Saun- 
ders goes to help Hawke, 
145; Pitt's tribute, 147; 
Commander-in-Chief in Me- 
diterranean, 154 ; strategy 
and diplomacy, 159 ; 

Saunders (contd.) — 

ceaseless excursions in quest 
of the enemy, 161-171 ; 
Saunders made K.B., 1761 ; 
Anson's secret despatch as 
to Cadiz and Marseilles, 
175 ; Saunders' long reply, 
177-183; Spain joins 
France, 183 ; Saunders 
sends ships to Lisbon on 
mysterious mission, 186- 
187; Mr. Julian Corbett's 
tribute, 188 ; the Hermione 
prize, 190-191 ; end of the 
war, 194 ; Vice-Admiral of 
the White, 194 ; England 
after three years, 199 ; 
a grant in the island of 
St. John's, 203; a new 
appointment, 204-5 ; 
Rockingham's First Lord 
of the Admiralty, 207-210 ; 
the Corsican question, 211- 
213 ; Falkland Islands, 
213-214 ; Admiral of the 
Blue, 1770, 214 ; Chatham 
wants Saunders' portrait, 
218 ; Canadian fishery ques- 
tion, 220 ; death, 221 ; 
various tributes, 222-3 ; 
elegy, 224-227 ; last will 
and testament, 229 

Secret Express, Anson's, 175- 

Seguataneio (Chequetan), 39 

Seven Years' War, 7, 65 et seq. 

Smollett, state of Navy, 7 

Solgard, Captain, 15 

Spain and the War, 158-161, 

Stamp Act, 201, 206 

St. Anne, the, 161, 162 

St. John's Island, 202 

St. Julian, 16, 17 

St. Lawrence, 2, 111-117, 220 



St. Vincent, the, 162, 163, 

166, 167, 168, 171 
Stirling Castle, the, 114, 138, 


Third Family Compact, 161 
Tinian, 43-45 
Townshend, General, 134, 

142, 147 
Traverse, the, 115-117 
Tryal's Prize, 35, 39-42 
Tryal sloop, 18-36 
Tyrawley, Lord, 72, 75, 76, 80 

Uniform, naval, 8-9 

Valdivia, 20, 23 
Vaudnieil, Governor, 138 

Walpole, Horace, 1, 46, 153, 

222, 228 
Walpole, Sir Robert, 1, 17 
Westminster Abbey, 3, 223 
Willson, Beckles, 94, 149; 
and Wolfe's missing Jour- 
nal, 111-113, 118, 120, 
Wolfe, 1, 2, 3, 6, 63-140, 147- 

148, 221, 223 
Wood, Major William, 3, 4, 
93, 102, 120, 148 

Xebeck, the Mediterranean, 

Yarmouth, the, 54-58 ; log, 


Printed by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., Bath 
(aai 8) 

[Catalogue O] O5. 




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THE PRAYER BOOK DICTIONARY. An Indispensable Volume of 
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THE BOOK OF ISAIAH. Newly Translated with Intro- 
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EDUCATION AND SOCIAL LIFE. By the Rev. J. Wilson Harper, 
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HOLLAND OF THE DUTCH. By the same author. 

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SERVIA OF THE SERVIANS. By Chedo Mijatovich. 

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HUNGARIANS. By L. Kellner, Paula Arnold and Arthur 
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THE DOMINION OF NEW ZEALAND. By the late Sir Arthur P. 
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THE DOMINION OF CANADA. By W. L. Griffith, Secretary to 
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THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA. With chapters on Rhodesia and the 
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THE EMPIRE OF INDIA. By Sir J. Bampfylde Fuller, K.C.S.I., 
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WINTER LIFE IN SWITZERLAND. Its Sports and Health Cures. 
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Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., 1 Amen Corner, London, E.C. 

DA Lmon, tdward 

87 Life of Admired ^ir 

•1 Charles Saunders 



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